Archive for May 4th, 2011

The US Intellectual Property Watch List: The Canadian Perspective

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the U.S. has again placed Canada on its Special 301 Priority Watch List, implausibly claiming that Canada’s intellectual property laws are seriously deficient and on par with countries such as China and Russia. The U.S. “analysis” is short and to the point:

Canada remains on the Priority Watch List. The United States continues to urge Canada to implement its previous commitments to improve its legal framework for IPR protection and enforcement. Unfortunately, Canadian efforts in 2010 to enact long-awaited copyright legislation were unsuccessful. The United States encourages Canada to make the enactment of copyright legislation that addresses the challenges of piracy over the Internet, including by fully implementing the WIPO Internet Treaties, a priority for its new government. The United States encourages Canada to provide for deterrent-level sentences to be imposed for IPR violations, as well as to strengthen enforcement efforts, including at the border. Canada should provide its Customs officials with ex officio authority to effectively stop the transit of counterfeit and pirated products through its territory. U.S. stakeholders have also expressed strong concerns about Canada’s administrative process for reviewing the regulatory approval of pharmaceutical products, as well as limitations in Canada’s trademark regime. The United States appreciates the high level of cooperation between the Canadian and U.S. Governments, and looks forward to continuing engagement on these important issues.

So Canada – a country with intellectual property protections that have been ranked ahead of the U.S., has many copyright rules more restrictive than the U.S., and digital markets growing faster than the U.S. – is once again placed by the U.S. on the watch list while other countries with similar laws are not.

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May 4, 2011 27 comments News

The US Intellectual Property Watch List: The Global Perspective

The USTR released its Special 301 report on Monday with the unsurprising inclusion of Canada on the Priority Watch List.  The list is designed to bully countries around the world to cave to U.S. demands on intellectual property reform and enforcement. In fact, this year’s report indicates that the U.S. is willing to make everyone the proverbial offer they can’t refuse:

USTR is announcing that it invites any trading partner appearing on the Special 301 Priority Watch List or Watch List to work with the United States to develop a mutually agreed action plan designed to lead to that trading partner’s removal from the relevant list. Agreement on such a plan will not by itself change a trading partner’s status in the Special 301 Report.

This year’s list includes Canada along with several Western European countries (Finland, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Norway) and dozens of other countries around the world. The total population of the 40 countries on the list exceeds 4.3 billion.  Many of these are poor countries with per person GDPs of a few thousand dollars per year, yet the primary complaint tends to revolve around patent protection and approval for pharmaceutical drugs. 

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May 4, 2011 2 comments News