The BRIC Wall Blog continues to examine the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) 2016 Special 301 Report (Report) released on April 12, 2016. The Report reviewed the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection and enforcement in U.S. trading partners around the world. After extensive research and analysis, the Report identified Algeria and Kuwait as two of eleven (11) countries on the priority watch list for 2016.
Although the Report commends Algeria for its ongoing efforts to promote awareness of the importance of IPR, the Report notes that IPR enforcement still requires significant improvement. Specifically, Algeria continues to struggle with enforcement of existing anti-piracy statues, including the use of unlicensed software, and enforcement of penalties for patent infringement.
The Report also indicates that Algeria continues to struggle in the area of pharmaceutical and medical products. Specifically, Algeria lacks an effective system for protecting against unfair commercial use and unauthorized disclosure of data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, Algeria continues to ban imported pharmaceutical products and medical devices in favor of local products, which presents a significant barrier to free market access and is the primary reason that Algeria remains on the Priority Watch List in 2016. The Report urges Algeria to remove this market access barrier and that the United States looks forward to continuing its engagement with Algeria in the future.
The Report also placed Kuwait on the Priority Watch List for 2016 as a result of its continued struggle with copyright and trademark infringement and lack of adequate copyright legislation. In 2014, Kuwait was elevated from the Watch List following an out of cycle review (OCR) which revealed that Kuwait had failed to introduce a copyright law consistent with international standards and had not resumed effective enforcement against copyright and trademark infringement. Although Kuwaiti officials initially took steps to improve enforcement following the announcement of the 2014 OCR, the Report indicates that effective enforcement actions against copyright and trademark infringement have significantly decreased since 2015. The Report urges Kuwait to correct these deficiencies and indicates that the United States stands ready to work with Kuwait towards resolving these important issues.
This post was written by Lisa Mueller and Rikki Hullinger.