WASHINGTON - The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today released its annual report ("Special 301" report) on the adequacy and effectiveness of intellectual property protection around the globe.
"U.S. creativity and ingenuity improves the lives of people all over the world. American innovators, like our scientists, artists and writers, rely on intellectual property protection to safeguard their inventions and creations. Strong IPR protection should also be a priority for other countries because it will help them attract investment and technology," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick. "This report reflects the Administration's continued commitment to ensure effective intellectual property protection around the world. We will continue to work with Congress to identify our priorities in this area."
Intellectual property protection standards and enforcement have improved in part as a result of implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). However, one of the key issues addressed in this year's Special 301 report, as in the past two years, is the need for governments to take effective enforcement action against commercial piracy and counterfeiting.
The report highlights that Korea has made progress in enforcement. Unfortunately however, problems continue in the Ukraine, which remains designated as a Priority Foreign Country (PFC) for increased review. And the intellectual property rights situation in Brazil has worsened. Macau has been removed from the Special 301 lists altogether due to their ongoing enforcement efforts.
Another key focus of this year's report is the problem of internet piracy and the importance of the World Intellectual Property Organization's Internet treaties. As of May 20, 2002, both treaties will be in effect. Internet piracy relates to copyright and trademark violations that are aided and abetted by the Internet.
"These treaties represent the current state of international copyright law and provide a critical foundation needed to enable e-commerce to flourish. They also provide the tools necessary to fight piracy on the internet," noted Zoellick. "We will continue to work internationally to promote ratification of these treaties by our trading partners."
Click here for more information on the report.