International Trade News

U.S. Trade Rep Seeks Input on Intellectual Property Blacklist

Dec. 27, 2018, 8:15 PM

U.S. companies and others doing business in countries such as China and India have until Feb. 7 to tell the Trump administration whether those countries provide sufficient protections for intellectual property (IP).

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is asking for public comment to help prepare its annual Special 301 Review, scheduled to be released on or about April 26. The interagency Trade Policy Staff Committee Special 301 Subcommittee will hold a public hearing Feb. 27.

Companies and other IP rights holders suffer significant financial losses each year due to violation of intellectual property rights. The notice comes amid a 90-day truce in the trade war between the U.S. and China, which Washington has flagged as a flagrant violator of IP rights.

Submissions proposing countries for IP review “should include data, loss estimates, and other information regarding the economic impact on the United States, U.S. industry, and the U.S. workforce caused by the denial of adequate and effective intellectual property protection,” USTR said in a notice to be published in the Dec. 28 Federal Register.

The 2018 report flagged China and India for many issues. Washington said it wanted Beijing to provide effective protection against unfair commercial use and unauthorized disclosure of test or other data “generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical products.”

In the Special 301 Review, USTR designates as “priority foreign countries” those with most egregious acts, policies, or practices on intellectual property. These countries may face U.S. trade sanctions.

Less egregious violators are placed the priority watch list or watch list for increased scrutiny and engagement. Placement on the watch lists indicates problems on IP protection, enforcement, or market access for people relying on intellectual property protection.

Written submissions from the public are a key source of information for the review process, USTR said. Comments and hearing statements from businesses and others are due to USTR by Feb. 7. Foreign governments have until Feb. 21 to submit their written comments.

To contact the reporter on this story: Susan McInerney in Washington at smcinerney@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com; Jerome Ashton at jashton@bloomberglaw.com