Wednesday, February 16, 2011

IPR enforcement and the Special 301 review

The Jakarta Post newspaper reports that the Jakarta Police HQ saw a road roller crushing illegal DVDs and fake liquor in a destruction ceremony yesterday. Such public displays are often used to generate promotion for IP enforcement efforts.

Indonesia like China suffers from a dearth of real stats on IP enforcement. Governments often have to cobble together numbers at this time of year as the US government special 301 season starts (in which the US between February and April reviews the IP policies of it's trading partners and categorises them). China is invariably at the top as its IP problems are so much greater than other countries. Indonesia is presently on the Priority Watch List, which is for countries that do not demonstrate adequate IPR protection, especially against counterfeits and pirated goods.

Indonesia's enforcement difficulties centre around a lack of police capability, low prioritisation and the prevalent problem of corruption. Compared to over 5000 completed criminal trials in Thailand in 2009 for counterfeiting and piracy, relatively little enforcement takes place in Indonesia. The Indonesian Anti Counterfeiting Society, MIAP is a lone voice appealing to the government to do more.

In April the review of industry comments will be complete and the USTR will grade Indonesia again. Unfortunately the past year has not seen any increase in IP enforcement or improvement in the system, so we are likely to see more well timed PR excercises like the DVD destruction.

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