Tuesday, May 3, 2011
South East Asia's USTR Special 301 Watch List candidates for 2011
The USTR Special 301 report features both Vietnam and Philippines on the watch list. This is a less serious categorisation than the PWC and will lead to more limited engagement than PWC countries. See here for descriptions of their criminal IP systems.
Philippines. The report recognises new rules to prevent camcording, but mentions the widespread availability of pirated and counterfeit goods, a failure to implement the WIPO Internet Treaties along with the paucity of criminal convictions and tendency to overturn raids on appeal. It recommends designating special IP courts and adopting better procedural rules. It also mentions the a possible patent law interpretation of efficacy provisions for patentability aimed at preventing evergreening.
Vietnam is perhaps at a different developmental stage and the USTR recognises significant developments in laws, policy and institutions. Problems of copyright piracy, internet infringement, satellite and cable signal piracy, and counterfeit hard goods exist. The USTR seeks more more criminal prosecutions and deterrent sentences and mentions protecting against unfair commercial use and disclosure of data for pharma marketing approvals.
IP Komodo's Saigon friends say the Vietnam sections sounds fair, partly because so much activity at government level is under way (but 42 different enforcement agencies is never going to be a good thing...). IP Komodo knows that Philippines criminal trials can easily last 5 -10 years so isn't surprised to hear a key focus on the judicial IP matters. The civil courts are for similar reasons barely used. While things do sort of work in the Philippines it is still long hard work conducting IP cases, which is probably fairly reflected in the report.