On April 27, 2016, the Office of the United States Trade Representative released the 2016 Special 301 Report.
The Special 301 Report (Report) is the result of an annual review of the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement in U.S. trading partners around the world, which the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) conducts pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, and the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (19 U.S.C. § 2242).
This Report reflects the Administration’s continued resolve to encourage and maintain adequate and effective IPR protection and enforcement worldwide. The Report identifies a wide range of concerns, including: (a) the deterioration in IPR protection and enforcement in a number of trading partners; (b) reported inadequacies in trade secret protection in China, India, and elsewhere; (c) troubling “indigenous innovation” policies that may unfairly disadvantage U.S. right holders in markets abroad; (d) the continuing challenges of online copyright piracy; (e) measures that impede market access for U.S. products embodying IPR and U.S. entities that rely upon IPR protection; and (f) other ongoing, systemic IPR enforcement issues in many trading partners around the world.
The Report serves a critical function by identifying opportunities and challenges facing U.S. innovative and creative industries in foreign markets and by promoting job creation, economic development, and many other benefits that effective IPR protection and enforcement support. The Report informs the public and our trading partners and seeks to be a positive catalyst for change. USTR looks forward to working closely with the governments of the trading partners that are identified in this year’s Report to address both emerging and continuing concerns, and to build on the positive results that many of these governments have achieved.