United States Trade Representative Michael Froman announced that Israel is being removed from the Special 301 Report Watch List.
Israel will no longer be listed in the Special 301 Report, which identifies trading partners that do not adequately and effectively protect intellectual property rights.
Israel has passed patent legislation that satisfies the remaining commitments Israel made in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) both countries signed in 2010. The MOU outlined a series of legal and regulatory measures Israel would take to make Israel’s patent system more transparent, efficient and effective. USTR moved Israel from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List in September 2012, based on progress made under the same MOU.
Ambassador Froman said in a press release, “We welcome Israel’s improvement to its patent system and the opportunity to remove Israel from the Special 301 Report Watch List.” Froman added, “The successful conclusion of this Understanding reflects USTR’s unwavering commitment to protecting and promoting innovation around the world, and demonstrates that the United States and Israel share this objective.”
Under Special 301 provisions of U.S. trade law, USTR must identify those countries that deny adequate and effective protection for intellectual property rights (IPR) or deny fair and equitable market access for persons that rely on intellectual property protection.
Countries that have the most onerous or egregious acts, policies, or practices and whose acts, policies, or practices have the greatest adverse impact (actual or potential) on relevant U.S. products must be designated as “Priority Foreign Countries.”
USTR has created a “Priority Watch List” and a “Watch List” under the Special 301 provisions. Placement of a trading partner on the Priority Watch List or the Watch List indicates that particular problems exist in that country with respect to IPR protection, or enforcement, or market access for persons relying on IPR.
The removal of a trading partner’s status from Priority Watch List to Watch List signifies that the partner has made progress towards resolving problems that exist with respect to these issues, and similarly for the removal of a trading partner’s status from the Watch List to no longer being listed in the Special 301 Report.