WASHINGTON - The
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today released its "Special 301" annual
report on the adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property protection
around the globe. The report found that lack of intellectual property protection
continues to be a global problem, and some governments need to take stronger
actions to combat commercial piracy and counterfeiting.
"Open markets and
rules that guarantee the protection of intellectual property are critical to the
continued health of the creative sectors of our economy," said U.S. Trade
Representative Robert B. Zoellick. "This report reflects the Administration's
continued commitment to ensure effective intellectual property protection around
the word. While we are heartened that many countries now have the necessary
legislation in place that recognizes intellectual property rights, it is
important that these laws be enforced."
The report noted
that ongoing implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has helped to improve intellectual property
protection worldwide. For example, Egypt passed a comprehensive intellectual
property rights (IPR) law which represents an improvement in all major facets of
Egypt's intellectual property regime. Colombia and Hungary are now protecting
confidential medical test data in line with their TRIPS obligations. Many
countries, such as Israel, are making the necessary investments in education,
police, and judicial resources to improve enforcement, thereby protecting U.S.
right holders in those countries.
ineffective enforcement of intellectual property rights, commercial piracy and
counterfeiting of consumer products continue to be a global threat. Counterfeit
products, from shampoo to auto brakes, harm not only trademark owners, but can
also cause serious health and safety problems for consumers. Rampant piracy and
lack of IPR enforcement are problems in Russia, Taiwan, Poland, Brazil, and
other trading partners.
The Special 301
Report takes its name from section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended.
Attached is a summary of the report, which is available at
May 1, 2003
"Special 301" report lists 50 countries or economies as Priority Foreign
Countries, Priority Watch List (PWL), Watch List (WL), or Section 306.
Countries are those pursuing the most onerous or egregious policies that have
the greatest adverse impact on U.S. right holders or products, and are subject
to accelerated investigations and possible sanctions. Ukraine continues to be
listed as a Priority Foreign Country.
economies on the PWL do not provide an adequate level of IPR protection or
enforcement, or market access for persons relying on intellectual property
protection. This year's report lists eleven trading partners on the PWL.
Priority Watch List countries or economies include Argentina, the Bahamas,
Brazil, EU, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, and
trading partners are placed on the WL, meriting bilateral attention to address
the underlying IPR problem. Watch List countries or economies include
Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia,
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,
Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru,
Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey,
Turkmenistan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
In addition to
the forty-eight described above, China and Paraguay are subject to another part
of the statute, Section 306 monitoring, because of previous agreements reached
with the United States to address specific problems raised in earlier