The International Intellectual Property Alliance Makes “Special 301” Review Recommendations to the U.S. Trade Representative
February 10, 2012
The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) on Feb. 10 submitted recommendations in a letter to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in its annual “Special 301” review of global copyright piracy issues that affect U.S. jobs, markets, and economic growth.
The “Special 301” Report is an annual review of the global state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement, which the USTR conducts pursuant to Section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended by the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (enacted in 1994). This report examines intellectual property concerns that the USTR identifies in countries and territories around the world. As noted in an earlier Intellirights story, the USTR released its 2011 Special 301 Report on May 2, 2011. In formulating this annual report, the USTR invites the public to submit written comments on intellectual property issues.
With the release of the USTR’s 2012 Special 301 Report coming in a few months, the IIPA submitted recommendations for consideration. Among them, the IIPA has called for the following 10 countries to be placed on the Priority Watch List of countries and territories that represent heightened IPR concerns for the United States:
The IIPA’s recommendation letter also discusses in detail the following list of “cross-cutting initiatives or challenges” relevant to reducing piracy, opening markets to legitimate U.S. copyright business, and ensuring that adequate legal structures are in place to lower piracy levels in the future:
1) The Need for Deterrent Enforcement Responses to Copyright Piracy;
Undergirding the IIPA’s recommendation letter is the recent research study it funded entitled Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy: The 2011 Report. This report, prepared by Stephen Siwek of Economists Inc., shows that U.S. core copyright industries − business software, entertainment software, motion picture, television and home video entertainment, music, and book and journal publishing – are key drivers of the U.S. economy, contributing heavily to domestic growth and employment, including roughly 6.4% to the U.S. economy, nearly 5.1 million workers or 5% of all U.S. private sector jobs, and $134 billion annually in revenue from foreign sales and exports.
In the Feb. 10 press release announcing the recommendations to the USTR, IIPA Counsel Steven J. Metalitz stated:
We thank the U.S. Government, the many senior officials at USTR, Commerce, State, USPTO, the Copyright Office, the Office of the IP Enforcement Coordinator and Members of Congress, along with their staffs, who have worked steadfastly over the years to ensure that our trading partners respect U.S. intellectual property and open their markets to our products and services. We also applaud the Administration and Congress for ratification and implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Korea, Colombia, and Panama, and express our hopes for a robust Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA. These initiatives with strong IP chapters are critical vehicles to open foreign markets, encourage free and fair trade for America’s most productive companies, and boost U.S. jobs and exports.