MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines remains on the US piracy watch list, according the latest report released by the US Trade Representative's (USTR) office on Monday.
This despite efforts by the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines for the country to be removed from the watch list, where it has been on for 7 years.
The USTR office released its annual “Special 301” Report on the adequacy and effectiveness of U.S. trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights
In its report, the USTR acknowledged the anti-piracy efforts being made by the Philippine government.
"The Philippines remains on the Watch List in 2012. The United States is encouraged by the significant decline in the incidence of unauthorized camcording of motion pictures in theaters that followed the enactment of the Anti-Camcording Act of 2010. Philippine officials also improved enforcement efforts, leading to the closure of at least two significant notorious markets," it said.
Aside from the Philippines, 26 other countries were included on the watch list, which means bilateral attention is needed to address underlying IPR problems. Malaysia and Spain were removed from the watch list this year.
The Philippines was also praised for the Supreme Court's promulgation of the IPR procedural rules last year. "The United States is hopeful that effective implementation of these rules will help streamline the judicial process for IPR cases. The United States encourages the Philippines to strengthen the criminal enforcement of IPR by improving the quality of criminal investigations and prosecutions," the report stated.
Also, the US urged the Philippines "to enact long-pending legislation to amend its copyright law and ensure that it fully implements the WIPO Internet Treaties."
The US expressed concern about amendments to the Patent Law, as well as Philippine policies that prevent US exports of IPR-intensive products to the country.
"The United States encourages the Philippines to provide an effective system for protecting against the unfair commercial use, as well as unauthorized disclosure, of test or other data generated to obtain marketing approval for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical products," it said.
"The United States looks forward to continuing to work with the Philippines to address these and other matters."
Russia, China still on top copyright pirates list
Meanwhile, the US again put Russia and China on its annual list of countries with the worst records of preventing the theft of copyrighted material and other intellectual property.
Argentina, Canada and India were also put on the "priority watch list," along with Algeria, Chile, Indonesia, Israel, Pakistan, Thailand, Ukraine and Venezuela.
"This year's Special 301 Report is more significant than ever in light of recent U.S. Government data showing that IP-intensive industries support as many as 40 million American jobs and up to 60 percent of U.S. exports," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement.
Canada, among the North American Free Trade Agreement nations along with Mexico and the United States, made the list for the fourth consecutive year, partly for failing to reform its copyright laws.
The priority watch list carries no threat of sanctions, but hopes to shame governments into cracking down on piracy and counterfeiting and updating their copyright laws. - With Reuters