Even As US Continues To Push Stronger Intellectual Property Laws Through Trade Agreements, It Ignores Those Agreements At Home

from the good-for-the-goose dept

Even as the US tries to ratchet up patents, copyrights and trademarks in international trade agreements, talking about how it's essential to protect the US's interests, it's amazing how the US ignores those same agreements at home. For years, we've talked about the still ongoing situation with Antigua, where the US was clearly found in violation of trade agreements, but has refused to do anything about it (other than unilatterally changing the free trade agreement in question in its own favor).

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Other countries are complaining that the US has lost at a variety of hearings in front of the WTO (handling disputes over those trade agreements) and then proceeded to ignore those rulings entirely.
“The conduct of the United States unscrupulously discredits the WTO dispute settlement system and also constitutes an affront to the intellectual property rights,” an ambassador from Cuba said today at the WTO.

At a WTO Dispute Settlement Body meeting today, a number of WTO members fired shots at the US delegation for its continued failure to change its laws to comply with WTO rulings that found it out of compliance on intellectual property-related issues.
The article lists out a bunch of countries all complaining that, while the US keeps pressuring them to adopt strict IP laws, the US routinely ignores the same clauses in the various free trade agreements it signs.
“It is very ironic to observe the United States projecting laws on intellectual property, despite keeping violations as egregious as Section 211,” under which the Bacardi Company continues to market rum labelled Havana Club, a mark which is otherwise owned by Cuba and partners. “This is one of the most famous cases of trademark counterfeiting and conducting misleading advertising by a company backed by the US legislation.”
And while a number of the countries complaining obviously have other issues with the US (Cuba, Venezuela), it's not just those countries. The EU also has complained that the US has been ignoring various agreements.
Even the 27-member European Union weighed in on the Section 211 case, thanking the US for its report and adding the hope that “US authorities will very soon take steps towards implementing the DSB ruling and resolve this matter.” The EU also urged that the US comply with another IP case – Section 110(5) of the US Copyright Act – which involved the US commercial practice of playing music recordings, such as Irish music, aloud in bars without paying royalties. “We refer to our previous statements that we would like to resolve this case as soon as possible,” the EU said.
Of course, the proper response to all of this isn't just putting more pressure on the US to change its laws to comply, but a more basic solution: stop agreeing to "intellectual property" issues in trade agreements. The US has now made it abundantly clear that it will pressure countries into rules that go against its own best interests and then will ignore any rules that go against its own interests. So the most basic response is that the US is clearly not trustworthy on "intellectual property" in trade agreements, and other countries should refuse to include such provisions in any agreement with the US. Don't reward hypocrisy and bullying by allowing the US to do more of the same.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    anonymouse, 29 Mar 2013 @ 2:19pm

    Re:

    And American residents wonder why they are hated with a passion around the world, damn even their allies hate them. Luckily for America it is not in the middle of Europe otherwise i suspect it would have been subjected to many bans and restrictions. I still see this happening as more and more countries have free access to American media and sell it and make a lot of money that should be going to Americans. Maybe one day the American citizens will put pressure on their corrupt leaders. I feel like i am understanding why some people take extreme measures against America , maybe Americans should wake up before it is too late.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.