Wednesday, April 29, 2020

USTR Releases Annual Special 301 Report on Intellectual Property Protection and Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy

On April 29, 2020, The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual Special 301 Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of trading partners' protection of intellectual property rights and the findings of its Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy (the Review), which highlights online and physical markets that reportedly engage in and facilitate substantial trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy.

The Special 301 Report identifies trading partners that do not adequately or effectively protect and enforce intellectual property (IP) rights or otherwise deny market access to U.S. innovators and creators that rely on protection of their IP rights.

Trading partners that currently present the most significant concerns regarding IP rights are placed on the Priority Watch List or Watch List. USTR identified 33 countries for these lists in the Special 301 Report.

Priority Watch List:

  1. Algeria,
  2. Argentina,
  3. Chile,
  4. China,
  5. India,
  6. Indonesia,
  7. Russia,
  8. Saudi Arabia,
  9. Ukraine and
  10. Venezuela.

Watch List:

  1. Barbados,
  2. Bolivia,
  3. Brazil,
  4. Canada,
  5. Colombia,
  6. Dominican Republic,
  7. Ecuador,
  8. Egypt,
  9. Guatemala,
  10. Kuwait,
  11. Lebanon,
  12. Mexico,
  13. Pakistan,
  14. Paraguay,
  15. Peru,
  16. Romania,
  17. Thailand,
  18. Trinidad & Tobago,
  19. Turkey,
  20. Turkmenistan,
  21. the United Arab Emirates,
  22. Uzbekistan and
  23. Vietnam.

USTR also announced Out-of-Cycle Reviews for Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

These trading partners will be the subject of increased bilateral engagement with USTR to address IP concerns. Over the coming weeks, USTR will review the developments against the benchmarks established in the Special 301 action plans for those countries. For countries failing to address U.S. concerns, USTR will take appropriate actions, which may include enforcement actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act or pursuant to World Trade Organization (WTO) or other trade agreement dispute settlement procedures.

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