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IPR Progress in Kuwait is Subject of USTR Out-of-Cycle Review

Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is conducting a Special 301 out-of-cycle review to evaluate progress on intellectual property rights issues in Kuwait. USTR has said this OCR will focus on Kuwait’s efforts to address deficiencies in both its copyright legislation and its IPR enforcement practices. The ITC’s 2014 Special 301 Report included specific steps that Kuwait would need to take by the conclusion of the OCR to avoid being moved to the Priority Watch List: (1) introduce amendments to the current copyright legislation that meet international standards, and (2) resume enforcement against both copyright piracy and trademark infringement.

Special 301 requires USTR to identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of IPR or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on IPR protection. Those countries that have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies or practices and whose acts, policies or practices have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on relevant U.S. products are to be identified as priority foreign countries. In addition, placement of a trading partner on the Priority Watch List or Watch List indicates that particular problems exist in that country with respect to IPR protection, enforcement or market access for persons relying on intellectual property.

USTR is now requesting written submissions from the public concerning any act, policy or practice that is relevant to the decision of whether Kuwait should be identified under Special 301. Comments should be as detailed as possible and provide all necessary information for identifying and assessing the effect of such acts, policies and practices. Comments should include information relating to the status of any amendments that have been introduced to the current copyright legislation of Kuwait; the substance of the amendments, particularly their consistency with international standards; and the change, if any, of the frequency of enforcement actions against copyright and trademark infringement. USTR requests that interested parties provide specific references to laws, regulations, policy statements, executive, presidential or other orders, administrative, court or other determinations that should be factored in the review.

Comments are due by Oct. 15 for all commenters other than foreign governments, which have a deadline of Oct. 20.

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