US places India on IPR Priority Watch List

The US Wednesday put India and nine other countries on its Priority Watch List to highlight what it called “growing concerns with respect to the environment for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection and enforcement”.

Releasing its annual Special 301 report on IPR, the US Trade Representative (USTR) said it will conduct Out-of-Cycle reviews to promote engagement and progress on IPR challenges identified in this year’s reviews of India, Kuwait, Paraguay and Spain.

“The Obama Administration is committed to meaningful and sustained engagement with trading partners — from China to India to Canada — with the goal of resolving intellectual property-related concerns so that Americans and American firms can compete on a level playing field in those markets,” said USTR Michael Froman.

In the last 25 years since USTR published the first Special 301 ‘Fact Sheet’, “we have achieved dramatic changes in the international intellectual property landscape”, he said

USTR said it reviewed 82 trading partners for this year’s Special 301 Report, and placed 37 of them on the Priority Watch List or Watch List.

Besides India, Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela too have been placed on the Priority Watch.

These countries, according to the USTR, “present the most significant concerns regarding insufficient IPR protection or enforcement, or otherwise limited market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection”.

These countries will be the subject of particularly intense bilateral engagement during the coming year, it said.