USTR publishes 2011 NTE Report on Foreign Trade Barriers

USTR today published the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, which describes barriers to trade in 60 nations, the European Union, and the Arab League.  The report contains (very brief) descriptions of the intellectual property environment in each of the countries covered, and often notes “concerns” about perceived weakness in enforcement. USTR describes the report as a statutorily required “inventory of the most important foreign barriers affecting U.S. exports of goods and services, foreign direct investment by U.S. persons, and protection of intellectual property rights. Such an inventory facilitates negotiations aimed at reducing or eliminating these barriers. The report also provides a valuable tool in enforcing U.S. trade laws, with the goal of expanding global trade and strengthening the rules-based trading system, which benefits all economies, and U.S. producers and consumers in particular.” Click here for more.

Judge denies copyright owners’ request for multiple damages per song downloaded from LimeWire

Record companies have won a summary judgment against the file sharing site LimeWire for secondary copyright infringement, and they have sought multiple damages per song for each of the 11,000 songs downloaded from the site. Their requested multiple damages have been denied by Judge Kimba Wood, whose opinion states:  “The Court agrees that allowing Plaintiffs to recover multiple awards per work based on the numbers of direct infringers is untenable. The Court thus finds that Plaintiffs are entitled to a single statutory damage award from Defendants per work infringed, regardless of how many individual users directly infringed that particular work.” As Law.com has pointed out, the multiple damages per song downloaded could reach a total of $75 trillion. Click here for more.

Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry wants EU Regulation 1383 reformed “shortly,” opposes data exclusivity in India-EU FTA

Speaking at an Indian Parliamentary committee meeting on IPRs, Minster of Commerce and Industry Shri Anand Sharma spoke out against seizures of generic medicines in the Netherlands. “These detentions of Indian generics by Europe were deemed to be TRIPS violative by us and India submitted its request on 11th May 2007 to the Dispute Settlement body of WTO… As a result of our persistent efforts, during the recent India-EU Summit, EU informed that the Commission has intensified efforts on finalisation of proposal for revision of Regulation 1383 and hopefully they should be able to complete their international processes shortly.”  Sharma also stated that the Ministry opposes the inclusion of data exclusivity provisions sought by Europe in the trade agreement currently under negotiation.  Click her for more.

Senators Brown and Stabenow introduce legislation to reinstate “Super 301”

Senators Brown and Stabenow have introduced the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act of 2011. The legislation “would require the USTR to analyze trade barriers in the National Trade Estimates Report to determine which have the most adverse effect on U.S. exports and employment. Under the bill, the USTR – in consultation with other relevant agencies and Congress – would be required to prioritize its enforcement strategy and work with those countries that have a pattern of unfair trade practices. If the USTR identifies a practice occurring in a country that has a signed a trade agreement with the U.S., previously agreed-to methods of addressing disputes would be used. For example, if an unfair practice is addressed under the WTO Agreement, USTR would be required to seek consultation under the dispute settlement process. If the practice is occurring in a country that does not have an agreement with the U.S., bilateral consultations would be required until an appropriate remedy is identified.”  The legislation does not specify intellectual property enforcement, but IP concerns are raised throughout the National Trade Estimate Report. Click here for more.

Letter from Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson – Releasing TPP Text Would Be “Problematic”

EXCERPT:   “…Your suggestion that draft negotiating text and position papers should be made public is understandable but problematic. First, this would only be possible if all parties agreed. Many negotiating parties would consider releasing the text as a breach of confidence.  Second, negotiating text really has no status until it is agreed by all parties. I am not convinced that exposing contested text, potentially including ambit claims, would assist informed public debate on the issues.” Click here for the full letter.

WIPO: Cybersquatting Hits Record Level, WIPO Center Rolls out New Services

WIPO reports in a press release that “In 2010, trademark holders filed 2,696 cybersquatting cases covering 4,370 domain names with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center) under procedures based on the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), an increase of 28% over the 2009 level and of 16% over the previous record year, 2008. Parties took advantage of user-friendly online facilities such as the WIPO-initiated paperless eUDRP, the Legal Index of WIPO UDRP Decisions, and the Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions (WIPO Overview) to assist their case preparation and submission.” Click here for the WIPO press release.

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