Monday, 4 May 2009

USTR Special 301 Report

On 30 April 2009, the USTR issued its Special 301 report identifying those countries that deny adequate and effective IPR protection or deny deny fair and equitable market access for persons that rely on intellectual property protection. Algeria and Egypt are the only African countries on the report, which can be located here.

Algeria: The United States is troubled by a law that took effect in Algeria on January 1, 2009 that bans numerous imported pharmaceutical products and medical devices in favor of local production in Algeria.This import ban prevents market access by U.S. companies that rely on intellectual property, and is a serious concern.Industry has also noted concern over the granting of marketing approval in recent years to unauthorized copies of drugs protected by Algerian patents, and the lack of effective judicial remedies to enable rightsholders to challenge in court the granting of such marketing approvals. Enforcement against piracy and counterfeiting is weak.

Egypt: Serious concerns remain, however, about weak copyright enforcement by the Ministry of Culture against piracy of books, music, and films, which the U.S. copyright industries describe as virtually unchecked.U.S. industries report the recent growth in Internet piracy, which needs to be effectively addressed by law enforcement officials and courts. With respect to pharmaceutical products, the United States recognizes the Ministry of Health’s efforts to combat counterfeit pharmaceuticals, streamline its regulatory processes for pharmaceutical products, and to establish a website to increase transparency.

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