United States Pledges $3 Million To Protect Intellectual Property

By Kathryn McConnell
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - The State Department will provide $3 million for a combined 13 bilateral and multilateral training and technical assistance projects aimed at protecting intellectual property rights (IPR).

The funding agreements, announced October 11, represent the latest in commitments totaling $8.5 million that the United States has made to fighting international property crimes since 2004.

The projects will be administered by such U.S. government bodies as the Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office and the Department of Justice.

The largest project -– with nearly $727,000 in funding - will target the economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - Brunei Darussalam, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The two-year effort will provide training to border and customs officials at key offices and ports.

The second-largest project targets the nations that are signatories of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The United States will provide these nations - Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic - with more than $582,000 in assistance to help them develop their intellectual property rights enforcement capacity.

Other funding is directed to:

• India, with $265,000 for a two-year program to train customs and border officials and another $100,000 to conduct train-the-trainer sessions for select prosecutors and judges;

• Paraguay, with $334,000 for the third year of an effort to help the country establish an intellectual property rights data center and investigation unit;

• Nigeria, with $179,000 for prosecutor training;

• Ukraine, with $150,000 to enhance the capabilities of the country's law enforcement officials to fight against piracy of audio and visual recordings;

• Brazil, with $130,000 to train judges and prosecutors; and

• Russia ($147,000), South Africa ($117,000), Indonesia ($100,000), China ($100,000) and Colombia ($69,000) for similar training and technical assistance projects.

The projects were selected by the State Department’s bureaus of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and Economic and Business Affairs in consultation with U.S. missions around the world, Congress, other segments of the U.S. government, the World Intellectual Property Organization and industry representatives.

Serious consideration was given to countries or economies listed on a 301 "priority watch list" of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Watch list countries and economies are those the office has determined do not protect intellectual property rights adequately.

For additional information on U.S. policy, see Protecting Intellectual Property Rights