April 28, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President of the Global Intellectual Property Center Mark Elliot issued the following statement in response to release of the 2017 Special 301 Report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR):

“American companies must be able to operate in a free and fair trading environment that respects the intellectual property rights on which our innovators rely. We must remain committed to enforcing current trade agreements in order to protect one of the U.S.’s greatest assets: our intellectual property.

“Many of the countries this report identifies as providing inadequate IP protections also score poorly on the U.S. Chamber’s International IP Index. IP enforcement is not a concession that countries make to one another; rather, it is an investment in economic development and growth. By denying the economic opportunities afforded by a strong IP model, these countries are ultimately doing their own citizens the greatest disservice.

“Almost a year after the announcement of its long-anticipated National IPR Policy, India continues to dismiss the need for substantive changes to its IP laws and regulations. This is disappointing at best and distracts from some of the more positive steps found in the IPR policy: efforts to streamline IP administration, recognition of IP’s contributions to domestic innovation, and talk of investment in state-level IP offices. We will continue to encourage the Indian government to address the biggest gaps in its IP protections, including: uncertainties and challenges in the patent system (with particular regard for computer-related inventions (CRI) and Section 3(d) of the Patent Act), the need to modernize copyright laws, and the need for regulatory data protections.

“Given Colombia’s history as a stable, pro-growth economy, we were particularly disappointed by actions the government took in 2016 that shook global confidence in its IP system. After threatening use of a compulsory license, Colombia pursued other damaging means to undermine the patent of an innovative leukemia treatment. We welcome continue to urge the Colombian government to reject these shortsighted tactics that will only prove harmful to Colombians in the long run.

“We also applaud more positive developments in Latin America, where Brazilian President Michel Temer recently announced promising changes to Brazil's IP framework that address long-standing concerns highlighted in the U.S. Chamber's Special 301 submission. By significantly restricting the role of the National Health Surveillance Agency in the patent review process and the Brazilian Patent Office from the review of technology transfer contracts, the government has taken positive action to remove bureaucratic barriers to innovators in Brazil.

“We will continue to work within these markets to promote the value of IP-driven solutions and counter the voices that would undermine the global innovation economy.”

The U.S. Chamber’s Special 301 submission to USTR provided an overall assessment of global systemic IP trends, including analysis from the Chamber’s 2017 International IP Index.

The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center is working around the world to champion intellectual property (IP) rights as vital to creating jobs, saving lives, advancing global economic growth, and generating breakthrough solutions to global challenges.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.