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IP Alliance welcomes US government report

May 6, 2014

By Colin Mann

The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) – a private sector coalition, formed in 1984, of trade associations representing US copyright-based industries working to improve international protection and enforcement of copyright materials and to open foreign markets closed by piracy and other market access barriers – has welcomed the decision of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to highlight IP and market access deficiencies in 39 important copyright markets in its Special 301 announcement (listing 37 of them on specific Special 301 lists).

USTR’s 2014 Special 301 Report identifies countries that fail to provide adequate and effective protection for US intellectual property, or fair and equitable market access, and sets priorities for the year to help open markets for US copyright goods and services around the world.

IIPA commends USTR for highlighting the problems of physical and online piracy and market access and other barriers, listing 10 countries on the Priority Watch List and 27 on the Watch List, and announcing important reviews of the online piracy situation in Spain, and the IP regimes in India, Kuwait, and Paraguay.

According to IIPA Counsel: “Special 301 remains a critical US trade tool for identifying country practices that warrant attention for ineffective copyright protection or for maintaining onerous market barriers.”

The IIPA notes that the placement of India on the Priority Watch List with an Out-of-Cycle Review (OCR) highlights the increasing importance of the role of IP in the development of the world’s second most populous country. “Indian ingenuity and creativity, from Bollywood to vibrant music, publishing and software businesses, is almost unmatched in the world, but India needs to step up its efforts to ensure IP protection and enforcement in the country supports its own right holders as well as those from abroad,” declares the IIPA.

The IIPA also observes that “importantly” the USTR announced an OCR focused on steps taken by Spain to combat copyright piracy over the Internet, and called upon Switzerland to expeditiously address Internet piracy. “USTR’s removal of Italy and the Philippines from the Watch List this year is a welcomed development, recognising important new tools to combat Internet piracy in Italy and the resolve of Philippine authorities to address barriers to legitimate IP trade, and confirming the Special 301 process as a dynamic and effective tool for encouraging needed IP reforms,” it says.

“American creators continue to rely upon sound US policy to foster effective copyright protection and enforcement, in combination with open markets, to generate millions of skilled high-wage US jobs, expanded exports, and increasing contributions to the US economy. By seeking practical solutions to piracy and market access barriers in significant copyright markets, USTR’s Report signals the Administration’s continuing commitment to protect our nation’s most valuable IP assets. We thank all those in the US Government for continuing to engage bilaterally and regionally to encourage our trading partners to make concrete progress toward stronger and more open IP marketplaces,” it concludes.

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