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

Friday, January 24, 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 Spain. Specifically, USTR has said this OCR will focus on Spain’s steps to combat copyright piracy over the Internet. USTR notes that the successful resolution of specific IPR concerns subject to an OCR, or lack of action on such concerns, can lead to a change in a trading partner’s status on a Special 301 list. Spain was not included on any such list in USTR’s most recent annual report.

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 Spain 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. USTR requests that interested parties provide specific references to laws; regulations; policy statements; executive, presidential or other orders; and administrative, court or other determinations that should factor in the review. USTR also requests that submissions include data, loss estimates and other information regarding the economic impact on the U.S., U.S. industry and U.S. workforce caused by the denial of adequate and effective IPR protection.

Comments are due by Feb. 14 for all commenters other than foreign governments, which have a deadline of Feb. 21.

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