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Weekly Trade Spotlight: Protection of Intellectual Property

This week, Ambassador Kirk will be delivering remarks in recognition of World IP Day. Established by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Member States in 2000, World IP Day Day (officially observed on April 26) focuses global attention on the critical contributions of creativity and innovation to economic growth. This occasion also emphasizes the importance of protecting intellectual property rights to foster advancement in the arts, science, and beyond.

American creativity and innovation help drive the U.S. economy. American ingenuity is a major competitive advantage in world markets. Intellectual property-intensive industries support an estimated 18 million jobs in the United States.

USTR takes its stewardship of U.S. creativity and innovation through trade policy very seriously, and fights for enhanced protection of U.S. intellectual property rights (IPR) throughout the world. Because now, national economies are more closely linked than ever through international trade and new technologies, our trade agreements include state-of-the-art protections of intellectual property rights.

In addition to negotiating and enforcing such agreements, USTR also uses the “Special 301” process to continue a dialogue with our trading partners and to press for reforms and enhanced IPR vigilance. On Monday, May 2, USTR released the 2011 Special 301 Report that includes an open invitation to all trading partners listed in the report to cooperatively develop action plans to resolve IPR issues of concern.

See statements of support regarding this year’s Special 301 Report below.

“USTR’s Report signals strongly the Administration’s commitment to protect our nation’s creative industries abroad through strong copyright protection, reducing piracy through more effective enforcement, and toppling market access barriers, steps that will help boost U.S. exports, create good jobs here at home, and contribute to U.S. economic growth, in line with the Administration’s goals.”

- Statement by Eric H. Smith, counsel to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA)

“The USTR’s Special 301 report is a stark reminder of the challenges facing the strongest and most reliable American exporters – the creators of filmed entertainment. Movie theft, especially online, is a growing threat – not only to the 2.4 million men and women working in the motion picture and television community, but also to the health of the American economy as a whole…We thank the Ambassador Ron Kirk for his continued commitment to enhancing protection for American products abroad, and workers at home.”

- Statement by Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA)

“USTR continues to shine the light on illicit practices around the globe that must be addressed in order to expand trade in legitimate products and services. We thank them and their colleagues in other agencies for their diligence and vision in identifying such practices, and in demanding that U.S. trading partners adopt legal or enforcement reforms designed to achieve better copyright protection, particularly in connection with digital commerce.”

- Statement by Neil Turkewitz, Executive Vice President, International, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)