USTR Releases Report on Global State of Intellectual Property Protection

The Office of the United States Trade Representative on Wednesday released the 2016 “Special 301” Report, mandated by Congress, detailing how intellectual property is being protected worldwide.

The report keeps China on its Priority Watch List of U.S. trading partners that have problems protecting intellectual property, enforcing its theft or the market access given to entities relying on intellectual property.

The report highlights concerns about China stealing trade secrets, “rampant” online piracy and counterfeiting, ongoing high levels of physical pirated and counterfeit goods, while localization requirements have limited market access for intellectual property developed in or transferred to China.

India also reappears on the list for failing to substantially improvements to its legal framework. The report adds Switzerland to the list because copyright holders have effectively been barred from enforcing their rights against online infringers. The report adds that the country has become a popular host for infringing websites.

“Each year, the U.S. film and television industry supports 1.9 million American jobs, $121 billion in total wages, and nearly 89,000 small business – generating $16.3 billion in exports that fuel our nation’s global competitiveness,” said Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO and former Sen. Chris Dodd in a statement. “However, as highlighted in the Special 301 Report, our industry continues to face many challenges in foreign markets that lack adequate and effective protections for intellectual property rights.”

“Intellectual property is a critical source of economic growth and high-quality jobs for the United States, and it is more important than ever to prevent foreign governments and competitors from ripping off United States innovators who are trying to support high-paying jobs by exporting their goods and services to consumers around the world,” said U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in a statement.

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