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USTR Holds Hearing on Intellectual Property Protection and Enforcement

Washington, D.C. - The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today held a new public hearing on the Special 301 review, a process that will culminate in the release of the annual Special 301 Report evaluating trading partners' intellectual property rights (IPR) protections and enforcement. The new hearing opened the floor to more than two dozen individuals representing foreign governments, non-profit organizations, and industry groups. Those individuals offered testimony to the interagency Special 301 subcommittee regarding a range of intellectual property matters, including pharmaceutical patents and digital copyright infringement. Full audio from the hearing will be posted on www.ustr.gov this week.

"President Obama has committed to opening up this Administration's policy efforts to public input," said United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk. "USTR continues to work hard to be inclusive, and to be attentive to the public's views. Today's Special 301 hearing is a prime example of USTR's direct engagement with members of the public and stakeholders. As we move forward with the Special 301 process, we will continue to work with American businesses and workers, as well as America's trading partners, to identify and address insufficient protection of intellectual property."

Deputy United States Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro and then Assistant United States Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation Stan McCoy presided over the proceedings. In addition to the testimony delivered at the hearing, interested parties have been invited to provide post-hearing comments on the Special 301 review online at www.regulations.gov, referencing docket number USTR-2010-0003 through 5:00 p.m. on March 10, 2010

The Special 301 Report was first issued in 1989 in accordance with the provisions of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. In 2009 USTR and the interagency IPR team reviewed 77 trading partners for the Special 301 Report. The USTR placed 46 trading partners on the Priority Watch List, Watch List, or on Section 306 monitoring. The 2010 Report is expected to be issued on or about April 30.