Brazil Considers Imposing Trade Sanctions on the United States

The Brazilian Government has successfully sued the US at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for illegally subsidizing cotton producers, thereby making it difficult for Brazilian companies to compete therewith.

America spearheaded GATT and TRIPS and essentially set up the WTO to enforce their IP vision on the world, instead of working with the more democratic WIPO. It is, therefore, kind of ironic that the US has now been successfully sued via this system they created.

In Executive Order No. 482, the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has announced that Brazil will implement trade sanctions and reserves the right to introduce counter-measures at its disposal. These include subtraction (presumably suspension) for a limited period of patent protection for and not enforcing patents to US entities for pharmaceuticals, veterinary medicines, agro-chemicals and biotechnology patents and not enforcing the copyright of US creative works including public performances thereof.

They also reserve the right to grant licenses to importers and manufacturers of patented goods without compensation to the US rights holders, and to allow reproduction and broadcasting of US copyright works without consent or compensation to the rights holders, and / or to impose a surcharge on US companies wishing to register patents and plant varieties and / or to impose a special tax on licensing fees. For more details, see http://www.diblasi.com.br/information.pdf.

It is not the first time that the US has been shown to have inferior IP standards and not to fulfil its obligations to other states. They have been condemned by Europe for allowing Irish music to be played in US pubs and restaurants without payment of royalties, and for not recognizing the rights of the Cuban and European owners of Cuban rum.

From an Israel perspective this development is interesting, since the Israel government seems to be more flexible (spineless???) to American pressure and is apparently considering amending the Israel Patent Law regarding patent term extensions in a quid pro quo for US backing to enable Israel to join the OECD, this despite the fact that Israel Law is already within the requirements of International Law and that many members of the OECD do not have stricter rules than Israel in this regard.

Furthermore, we note that whereas subsidizing growers is clearly illegal, overly stringent IP rights are not necessarily in the public interest. It should be appreciated that IP rights are monopolistic and that granting stronger IP rights to the patentee or creator is not in the greater public interest. The purpose of the patent system is to encourage development and creativity for the good of all.



Categories: Intellectual Property, US, World Trade Organization, WTO

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