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USTR Ron Kirk Joins Vice President Joe Biden to Announce the Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement

Washington, D.C. –Today, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk joined Vice President Biden, members of the President’s cabinet and U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel to announce the Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement. The Obama Administration, including USTR is, highlighting the need to safeguard U.S. intellectual property because such protection is fundamental to safeguard American jobs, sustain American exports and strengthen the American economy.   

At today’s event with Vice President Biden, Ambassador Kirk discussed USTR’s work to advance enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights overseas. Ambassador Kirk said, “USTR uses a full arsenal of trade policy tools to support and implement President Obama’s commitment to aggressively protect American intellectual property rights around the world. We are actively engaged in bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, dialogues, and cooperation that are particularly critical to advancing the effective enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights overseas. That engagement is backed by a strong commitment to ensuring that our trading partners deliver on their commitments.”   

The Strategic Plan makes intellectual property enforcement a priority by ensuring that the U.S. dedicates the right resources and expertise, and that the Administration has the right processes in place. Under the plan the Obama Administration will:     

· Lead by example by making sure that the Federal government does not purchase or use illegal products, including ensuring that government procurement is secured against the infiltration of counterfeit parts; 

· Be transparent in how we develop and implement policies, how we share and report information at home and abroad, and through specific efforts such as increased information sharing with right holders and victims; 

· Ensure efficiency and coordination of our enforcement efforts across Federal, state and local levels, domestically and overseas, through means such as shared databases and increased coordination of investigation and training efforts; 

· Enforce our rights internationally by combating foreign-based websites and other entities that violate our intellectual property rights, by working with our trading partners to increase enforcement and ensuring that we are supporting in businesses in overseas markets, including China; 

· Secure our supply chain to stop illegal products from coming into the country by ensuring that law enforcement has authorities that it needs, by encouraging voluntary cooperation by the private sector to reduce infringement occurring in the physical and the online world and by vigorously investigating and prosecuting criminal activity, where warranted; and 

· Collect good data, such as analyzing jobs and exports that are generated by intellectual property-intensive industries to help drive future decisions and action and in order to build an open and fair environment for American intellectual property right holders.     

At USTR key trade monitoring and enforcement initiatives include publication of the “Special 301 Report” which for more than two decades has focused on the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement. Under the Obama Administration USTR has also completed two “Out-of-Cycle Reviews”, one for Israel, which will lead to enhanced protection of data submitted by pharmaceutical companies to obtain marketing approval in Israel, and to improvements to Israel’s patent regime. The second review, for Saudi Arabia, resulted in enhanced protection of pharmaceuticals and improved enforcement of copyrights in that country.   

In April, in part due to USTR-led engagement, Mexico passed a law expanding ex officio authority in connection with intellectual property rights enforcement. Then last month, the Philippines enacted a law to strengthen enforcement against illegal camcording in movie theaters.   

Ambassador Kirk concluded, “Our efforts are paying off. I am eager to continue our hard work, in cooperation with Vice President Biden, Coordinator Espinel, and my colleagues Secretaries Locke, Holder, and Napolitano, to continue executing our role to help ensure that intellectual property rights policy is working for American workers and businesses here at home and around the world.”