Washington, DC – The U.S. moved Kuwait a notch higher on its Watch List of countries to monitor for potential breaches of U.S. patents, copyrights and other intellectual property (IP) rights.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Kuwait had failed to introduce a copyright law in line with international standards and to properly protect copyright and trademarks.
According to the USTR, the status of copyright legislation in that country “hampers the market environment for intellectual-property-intensive industries.”
Kuwait’s “lack of sustained enforcement action” against trademark infringement is another reason for the priority-watch designation, he said.
The U.S., Froman added, is “encouraged” by reported recent progress on enforcement against copyright infringement, by the country’s recent accessions to several intellectual-property-related treaties and seeks to “engage Kuwaiti authorities on these issues in the contest of the long-standing cooperation” between the two countries, according to the statement.
“The U.S. remains concerned about the lack of sustained enforcement action against trademark infringement and the lack of progress in passage of updates to Kuwait’s copyright legislation, which hamper the overall market environment for intellectual property-intensive industries,” he said.
Kuwait will join 10 countries, including India and China, on the “Priority Watch List,” one rung higher than its current status.
More often than not, say observers, a place on the list signals a higher level of scrutiny and diplomatic pressure to bring policies into line.