|January 7, 2014|
Previously published on January 5, 2014
The United States is currently involved in ongoing negotiations with nations around the Pacific Rim to establish a multi-lateral trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (“TPP”). Discussions on such an agreement began in 2011 between the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Over the past two years, Japan and Canada have also joined in the talks. The purpose of the agreement is to promote greater and freer trade and commerce among all parties.
International trade agreements generally contain special provisions on intellectual property rights. For example, the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement, entered into on January 1, 2005, contains an entire chapter regarding intellectual property rights. Both nations affirmed their ratification of or accession to numerous intellectual property treaties and agreements, as well as agreed to specific provisions in the FTA itself for the protection of patents, trademarks and copyrights respectively originated in each country. Judicial authorities in both nations were granted the authority to order the seizure of suspected infringing goods, and criminal procedures and penalties for willful infringements.
The text for the new TPP agreement has not yet been finalized and negotiations are ongoing. However, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has indicated that this agreement will similarly contain provisions aimed at strengthening trade-related aspects of intellectual property protections, to “ensure an effective and balanced approach to intellectual property rights among TPP countries.” Proposals on patents, trademarks, copyrights and regulated products are being discussed for inclusion in the final version of the TPP. Leech Tishman will keep you posted on important developments as new information becomes available.