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US Lodges WTO Complaint Against China

The BBC reports that the US will formally lodge a complaint with the WTO over the failure to prevent copyright violations and the production of counterfeit products. At the Fordham International Intellectual Property Conference last year there was a lot of discussion on this topic, as it is common knowledge that enforcement of the law is half-hearted – and that regards not only copyright but intellectual property in general. Today’s developments caught me somewhat off-guard however as my impression from listening to the heavy-hitters was that they would really rather find another way of dealing with the Chinese on this issue. Many US firms are cagey about going public on their complaints as they believe that it rebound negaticvely on them at a moment when they are trying to establish themselves in the Chinese market. The US Trade Representative however placed China top of the list of villains in last year’s Special 301 report (the official report card of compliance with the US IP agenda) and sought public input regarding problems with enforcement last February.

There are in fact two seperate complaints by the US against China at the WTO:

1. Regarding copyright and trademark law

2. Regarding barriers to market access for the copyright industries; here the US alleges that restrictions on importation etc function so as to create unsatisfied demand for legitimate products incentivizing the operations of IP pirates.

April 10, 2007 Posted by | copyright, enforcement, trade, trademark, WTO | Leave a comment