From the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator …
Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual “Special 301” Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). The Report can be found on the USTR website by clicking here. Significant actions in this year’s Report include the following:
• USTR designates Ukraine a Priority Foreign Country (PFC) under the Special 301 statute due to severe deterioration of enforcement in the areas of government use of pirated software and piracy over the Internet, as well as denial of fair and equitable market access through the authorization and operation of copyright collecting societies;
• USTR reports grave concerns about misappropriation of trade secrets in China, and incremental progress on a few of China’s many other significant IPR and market access challenges;
• USTR adds Barbados, Bulgaria, Paraguay, and Trinidad and Tobago to the Watch List due to specific problems identified in the report;
• USTR announces that while El Salvador and Spain are not listed in the Report, USTR will conduct out-of-cycle reviews to assess progress on IPR challenges identified in this year’s reviews of those countries;
• Canada moves from the Special 301 Priority Watch List to the Watch List in recognition of significant progress on copyright issues, while USTR continues to work with Canada to address several remaining IPR concerns; and
• Brunei Darussalam and Norway move off of the Special 301 Watch List.
On April 23rd, Alibaba, owner of Chinese e-commerce platform, Taobao, announced that its incoming CEO Jonathan Lu will head an intellectual property task force to cooperate with government bureaus and ministries, such as China’s Ministry of Public Security, to fight counterfeiting and intellectual property rights infringement on its platforms, including helping trace the source of fake goods. Taobao was included on USTR’s 2010 Notorious Market List and was removed in December of 2012 due to “notable efforts” to reduce infringement on its platform. The Administration strongly supports voluntary efforts by the private sector to reduce infringement consistent with due process, free speech, competition, consumer privacy, and protecting legitimate uses of the Internet and we will be watching Taobao’s efforts with great interest.
U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator
Executive Office of the President