The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced today that the
United Stateshas requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute settlement panel, the next step in its WTO case challenging deficiencies in ’s legal regime for protecting and enforcing copyrights and trademarks on a wide range of products. China
United Statesand Chinahave tried, through formal consultations over the last three months, to resolve differences arising from U.S.concerns about inadequate protection of intellectual property rights in . That dialogue has not generated solutions to the issues we have raised, so we are asking the WTO to form a panel to settle this dispute,” said USTR spokesman Sean Spicer. “It is in the best interest of all nations, including China , to protect intellectual property rights. Over the past several years China has taken tangible steps to improve IPR protection and enforcement. However, we still see important gaps that need to be addressed. We will pursue this legal dispute in the WTO and will continue to work with China bilaterally on other important IPR issues.” China
In pursuing this action, the
United Statesis seeking to eliminate significant structural deficiencies that give pirates and counterfeiters in a safe harbor to avoid criminal liability. The China United Statesis also seeking to improve enforcement procedures at China’s border, and to give copyright owners more tools to prevent the production of unauthorized copies in . The China United Statesrequested WTO dispute settlement consultations with over these issues in April. The China United Statesand held consultations in early June. China Chinahas not, however, taken any steps that address these concerns during this period. U.S.
panel request will be considered by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body at its next meeting, which is scheduled for August 31. U.S.
The USTR also has the back story to this dispute as one of the (count 'em!) five cases the US has pending against China. With friends like these, etc:
As usual, China takes the diplomatic route and says it "regrets" the US action according to the official Xinhua news agency:
initiated dispute settlement proceedings over deficiencies in United States ’s legal regime for protecting and enforcing copyrights and trademarks by requesting consultations with China on China April 10, 2007. Consultations were held on June 7-8, 2007. Under WTO rules, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) will consider the request for establishment of a panel at its next meeting, which is scheduled for U.S. August 31, 2007.
panel request alleges violations of various provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement) related to three aspects of U.S. ’s IPR regime. First, the request challenges quantitative thresholds in China ’s criminal law that must be met in order to start criminal prosecutions or obtain criminal convictions for copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. Wholesalers and distributors are able to operate below these high thresholds without fear of criminal liability, so these thresholds effectively permit piracy and counterfeiting on a commercial scale. China
Second, the panel request addresses the rules for disposal of IPR-infringing goods seized by Chinese customs authorities. Those rules appear to permit goods to be released into commerce following the removal of fake labels or other infringing features, when WTO rules dictate that these goods normally should be kept out of the marketplace altogether.
Third, the panel request addresses the apparent denial of copyright protection for works poised to enter the market but awaiting Chinese censorship approval. It appears that Chinese copyright law provides the copyright holder with no right to complain about copyright infringement (including illegal/infringing copies and unauthorized translations) before censorship approval is granted. Immediate availability of copyright protection is critical to protect new products from pirates, who – unlike legitimate producers – do not wait for the Chinese content review process to be completed.
This is one of five WTO cases the
has brought against United States and the third case against China where the China has requested a WTO dispute settlement panel. The United States requested a panel in September 2006 to examine United States ’s regulations imposing local content requirements in the auto sector through discriminatory charges on imported auto parts; panel proceedings in that dispute are underway. In July 2007, the China requested a panel regarding several subsidy programs the United States believes are prohibited under WTO rules; the panel request in that dispute is pending before the DSB. In the market access dispute , which concerns Chinese market access barriers affecting copyright intensive industries (movies, music, home entertainment videos, publications), the United States has just completed supplemental consultations with China and is considering next steps. United States settled the fifth case, concerning discriminatory taxes on semiconductors, during WTO consultations in 2004. China
regrets that the China requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) to set up a dispute settlement panel to solve the intellectual property rights(IPR) disputes between the two sides. United States
Wang Xinpei, spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce, made the remarks in a news conference here Thursday.
The Chinese government has always been firm in protecting IPR and tried to solve IPR protection problems through dialogues, Wang said.
has detailed and clarified problems raised by the China and showed great sincerity, Wang said. U.S.
's laws regarding IPR protection completely meet WTO requirements, Wang said, adding China is opposed to any WTO member's move of making developing members shoulder extra obligations through dispute settlement system, Wang said. China
is studying the China request and will act actively, Wang said. U.S.
on Monday requested the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel regarding so-called United States 's deficiencies in intellectual property protection. China
initiated the dispute over the issue by requesting consultations with U.S. on China April 10, 2007.
Under WTO rules, the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) will consider the
request for the establishment of a panel at its next meeting on August 31. U.S.