Thu, 04 May 2000

U.S. sees improvement in RI protection of IPR

JAKARTA (JP): The United States government has seen a remarkable improvement in Indonesia's protection of intellectual property rights and has accordingly moved the country down to Watch List from Priority Watch List, the government announced here on Wednesday.

Director General for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Zen Umar Purba said the higher grading for Indonesia was announced in Washington on Monday by United States Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky after her annual (2000) review of the adequacy and effectiveness of IPR protection in foreign countries.

"Over the past few years Indonesia remained on the so-called Special 301 Priority Watch List that groups countries with a lack of adequate and effective protection of IPR," Purba said in a statement.

The United States, under the Special 301 provisions of the Trade Act of 1974, classifies countries into three categories according to their performance in IPR protection.

The Priority Foreign Country category is given to countries with the worst conduct in IPR protection, followed by Priority Watch List and Watch List categories.

"This impressive improvement should be attributed to the good cooperation among various government institutions in IPR protection in the country," Purba added.

In its 1999 Special 301 review, the trade body retained Indonesia on the Priority Watch List, saying the country's copyright and patent laws did not provide minimum levels of IPR protection consistent with World Trade Organization rules.

The U.S. then saw Indonesia as ineffective in taking firm measures against the piracy of computer software, video compact discs, books and infringement of pharmaceutical patents.

Observing impressive improvements in IPR protection in the country, Purba quoted a February, 2000 report of the International Property Associations which estimated that losses caused by IPR piracy in Indonesia in 1999 totaled just US$173.6 million, compared to $1.70 billion in China and $286.8 million in Malaysia.