Ecuador has been moved from the Priority Watch List to the Watch List in the 2016 Special 301 Report of the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The basis for this upgrade is the reinstatement in Ecuador of criminal procedures and penalties for commercial scale counterfeiting and piracy, which was the basis for downgrading it to the Priority Watch List in 2015.

Nevertheless, concerns remain regarding Ecuador´s enforcement of IPR against widespread counterfeiting and piracy, as well as the draft Code of the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation (known as draft bill  INGENIOS) which, according to the USTR, in its current form "would represent a departure from international practice and could threaten foreign investment in and further development of Ecuador's innovative and creative industries." Moreover, Ecuador is also encouraged by the USTR to bring its patent  maintenance fees back into alignment with international practice and to provide clarification on its processes related to the compulsory licensing of  pharmaceuticals.

The Special 301 Report is an annual review of the global state of IPR protection and enforcement aimed at identifying trade barriers to U.S. companies and products due to the intellectual property laws in other countries.

The annual report identifies a list of "Priority Foreign Countries" which are judged to have inadequate intellectual property laws, as well as a "Priority Watch List" and a "Watch List", containing countries whose  intellectual property systems are deemed of concern to the U.S.

The 2016 Special 301 Report also deems other fourteen Latin American countries of concern regarding IPR. Argentina, Chile and Venezuela remain in the Priority Watch List and, according to the USTR will be the subject of particularly intense bilateral engagement during the coming year. Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republican, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico and Peru remain in the Watch List during 2016 and, according to the report also merit bilateral attention to address underlying IPR problems.

Please click here if you want to read the complete 2016 Special 301 Report.

 Originally published on 2 June 2016 in,

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