Canada back on the USTR 2011 Special 301 Watch List

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) just published its 2011 Special 301 Report. The 2011 Special 301 review process examined IPR protection and enforcement in 77 of the US’s trading partners. The Special 301 Report is a critical mechanism for the U.S. government to ensure that its trading partners provide adequate and effective protection of IP for America’s creators and innovators.

Following extensive research and analysis, the USTR again listed Canada on its Priority Watch List along with Algeria, Argentina, Canada, China, India, Israel, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia, Thailand, and Venezuela.

The report noted that “Piracy over the Internet is a significant concern with respect to a number of trading partners, including Brazil, Canada, China, India, Italy, Russia, Spain, and Ukraine.” It also stated the following:

The United States continues to urge Canada to implement its previous commitments to improve its legal framework for IPR protection and enforcement.  Unfortunately, Canadian efforts in 2010 to enact long-awaited copyright legislation were unsuccessful.  The United States encourages Canada to make the enactment of copyright legislation that addresses the challenges of piracy over the Internet, including by fully implementing the WIPO Internet Treaties, a priority for its new government. The United States encourages Canada to provide for deterrent-level sentences to be imposed for IPR violations, as well as to strengthen enforcement efforts, including at the border. Canada should provide its Customs officials with ex officio authority to effectively stop the transit of counterfeit and pirated products through its territory.  U.S. stakeholders have also expressed strong concerns about Canada’s administrative process for reviewing the regulatory approval of pharmaceutical  products, as well as limitations in Canada’s  trademark regime.  The United States appreciates the high level of cooperation between the Canadian and U.S. Governments, and looks forward to continuing engagement on these important  issues.

Key US copyright holders have made statements endorsing the report.

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