Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 USTR Special 301 report - Indonesia and Thailand

This years report is out and for South East Asia the news is generally one of improvement.
Indonesia remains on the Priority Watch List (PWL). While there have been some educational and awareness steps, the copyright law (under amendment) remains deficient, but the real problems are around enforcement. Criminal remedies are weak, with inefficiencies in judicial and prosecutorial systems including a lack of transparency and deterrent sentences. There are specific industry concerns over internet infringement, media box piracy (preloaded disks & drives of content), product counterfeiting (especially pharmaceuticals), copyright piracy, cable theft, trade secret protection for agrochemical and pharma products and compulsory licensing of pharma products. Interestingly it refers to collaboration on an Action Plan to improve IPR protection and enforcement against the high levels of IPR infringement in Indonesia.
Thailand remains on the PWL too. But only by a whisker as a possible downgrade is mentioned. There is praise for the Anti-Money Laundering Act, which includes IPR offenses as a predicate crime, and the launch of the National IPR Center for Enforcement. The police and customs are well regarded by IP holders. One key barrier seems to be legislative delay in tacking landlord liability, unauthorized film camcording, Ex officio Customs authority, implementing the WIPO Internet Treaties and establishing improved legal mechanisms to address internet infringement. The report cites that IP violation remains widespread despite the improvements, especially for cable and satellite signal theft. The report also mentions the IP issues around access to medicine.  Overall the balance seems right, with Indonesia facing more fundamental problems, while the more sophisticated Thai system faces some more complex challenges. Improving an IP regime is not a defined step, but more of a process over time.    IP Komodo will continue with other SE Asia markets in the next post. 

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