Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute resolution panel issued its report yesterday in United States-China: Measures Affecting the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights. The United States had alleged that Chinese Copyright and Customs Laws were insufficient to protect intellectual property rights provided for in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property or TRIPS, one of the WTO agreements. The panel agreed with the United States that China had violated its obligations under TRIPS. More specifically, the panel found that China's Copyright Law in particular is inconsistent with its obligations under Article 5 of the Berne Convention, which is incorporated into TRIPS, and Article 41 of TRIPS.
Under Article 3.8 of the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding, when there is an infringment of obligations under a WTO Agreement, a presumption of nullification or impairment of benefits is raised. China failed to rebut that presumption. Accordingly, the panel found that the United States' expected benefits under TRIPS had been nullified or impaired. The panel recommended that China bring its Copyright and Customs Laws into conformity with the Agreements. More information can be found on the WTO website: http://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news09_e/362r_e.htm