Intellectual Property Rights In The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement
The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Chapter of the U.S.-Colombia trade Agreement contains state-of-the-art protections spanning all types of intellectual property, and requirements to join key multilateral IPR agreements. It also contains strong enforcement provisions to ensure that American intellectual property rights are efficiently and effectively protected in Colombia.
Protection for Copyrighted Works in a Digital Economy: The Agreement provides for several forms of IPR protection that are important in the digital environment, such as anti-circumvention provisions to prohibit tampering with technologies designed to prevent piracy and unauthorized distribution over the Internet; a framework for the limitation of liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for copyright infringement, reflecting the balance struck in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act between legitimate ISP activity and the infringement of copyright; and enhancements of the rights of copyright owners over digital copies of their works. The Agreement extends the terms of protection for copyrighted works consistent with U.S. law and emerging international standards. It also includes rules to prohibit the unauthorized receipt or distribution of encrypted satellite signals to prevent satellite television piracy, and establishes that only authors, composers and other copyright owners have the right to make their work available online. Finally, the Agreement will ensure that each Party requires that its government agencies use only legitimate computer software.
Tough Penalties for Piracy and Counterfeiting: The Agreement calls on Colombia to provide strong, deterrent criminal penalties against copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting, including, for example, end-user piracy of software. To strengthen enforcement procedures, the Agreement authorizes the seizure, forfeiture, and destruction of counterfeit and pirated goods and the equipment used to produce them. It also permits customs officials and prosecutors to bring an IPR enforcement action without having to wait for a formal complaint from the right holders. Additionally, the Agreement provides for customs enforcement against goods-in-transit, to deter violators from using ports or free trade zones to traffic in pirated and counterfeit products.
Patents & Regulated Products: The Agreement ensures that the parties will provide robust patent and test data protection, while respecting the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. Provisions include protection against arbitrary revocation of patents. The Agreement also clarifies that test and other data submitted to the government for the purpose of product approval will normally be protected against unfair commercial use for a period of 5 years from product approval for pharmaceuticals and 10 years from product approval for agricultural chemicals. If Colombia relies on U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a given drug, and meets certain conditions for expeditious approval of that drug in Colombia, the period of data protection will begin on the date of product approval in the United States. The Agreement also establishes procedures and remedies to expeditiously adjudicate patent disputes regarding pharmaceutical products, and ensure that patent holders have sufficient time and opportunity to seek available remedies prior to the marketing of allegedly infringing products.
State-of-the-Art Protection for U.S. Trademarks: Under the Agreement, a system to resolve disputes about trademarks used in Internet domain names is required, which is important to prevent "cyber-squatting" with respect to high-value domain names. The Agreement applies the principle of “first-in-time, first-in-right” to trademarks and geographical indications, so that the first person who acquires a right to a trademark or geographical indication is the person who has the right to use it exclusively. The Agreement also requires the establishment of an online system for registration and maintenance of trademarks, as well as a searchable database. Finally, the Agreement requires transparent procedures for the registration of trademarks and geographical indications.