Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Priority Watch List 2012 is out! Chile (again), Argentina and Venezuela in danger zone

On Monday, the United States Trade Representative published its annual "Special 301 Report," detailing the state of intellectual property rights around the world with American trading partners. Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, India, and Canada were given the honor of being on the "priority watch list" (with China, Russia, and others countries).

Chile remains on the Priority Watch List in 2012. The report said about this country: "[In] 2011, Chile took steps towards addressing some, but not all, outstanding IPR issues under the United States-Chile Free Trade Agreement. Recent action included accession to the Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme Carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite and the Trademark Law Treaty. Chile has also taken steps toward acceding to and ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. While this progress is welcome, major issues remain outstanding. The United States urges Chile to implement an effective system for addressing patent issues expeditiously in connection with applications to market pharmaceutical products. The United States also continues to urge Chile to implement protections against the circumvention of technological protection measures and protections for encrypted program-carrying satellite signals, and to ensure that effective administrative and judicial procedures, as well as deterrent remedies are made available to rights holders. The United States also urges Chile to provide adequate protection against unfair commercial use, as well as unauthorized disclosure, of undisclosed test or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical products, and to amend its Internet service provider liability regime to permit effective action against piracy over the Internet. The United States will continue to work with Chile to resolve these and other issues, including through the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations".

Argentina, meanwhile, was cited specifically for "piracy over the Internet," while India has faced American criticism over generic knock-offs of pharmaceutical drugs, a case the Indian Supreme Court heard earlier this year.

About Venezuela said:  "[V]enezuela made some progress in 2011, notably through the seizure of a larger number of counterfeit and pirated products than in previous years and through steps to enforce the 2010 Law on Crimes and Contraband, including the penalty provisions of that law. However, serious concerns remain with respect to IPR protection and enforcement.  [...] Venezuela also should provide an effective system for protecting against the unfair commercial use, as well as unauthorized disclosure, of test or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical products. The United States will continue to monitor Venezuela’s progress on these and other issues".

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