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China Remains Atop US IP Watchlist

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

04 May 2010

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released its annual “Special 301” Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of US trading partners’ protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), which again highlights the prominence of IPR concerns with regards to lax enforcement of IP laws in China.

“Intellectual property theft in overseas markets is an export killer for American businesses and a job killer for American workers here at home. USTR’s Special 301 report is important because it serves as the foundation for a year-round process used to secure meaningful reforms that bolsters our exports and supports American jobs in IPR-intensive industries,” said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.

“I am pleased that this year’s Special 301 Report will highlight several successes in the fight against intellectual property theft. The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland have taken significant steps to clamp down on piracy and counterfeiting and will be removed from the Watch List.”

The positive report on these three countries follows recent successes in both Israel and Saudi Arabia, which Kirk said were the result of "consistent engagement using the Special 301 process."

However, Kirk expressed "serious concerns" over aspects of the Chinese IP enforcement regime, particularly with respect to Beijing's ‘indigenous innovation’ procurement policies.

"Procurement preferences and other measures favoring ‘indigenous innovation’ could severely restrict market access for American technology and products,” said Kirk. “Creating an environment that nurtures innovation and entrepreneurship is a worthy goal, but China must maintain a level playing field.”

The report identifies a wide range of other serious concerns, ranging from the problems of piracy and counterfeiting in China, to the challenge of Internet piracy in other countries, to "ongoing systemic IPR enforcement shortcomings in many trading partners."

The USTR also announced that reviews of the legal regimes in the Philippines and Thailand will be conducted to monitor progress on specific IPR issues.

TAGS: business | trademarks | Hungary | Saudi Arabia | commerce | intellectual property | copyright | China | Israel | Philippines | Thailand | enforcement | internet | e-commerce | Czech Republic | Poland | United States | standards | regulation | trade

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