Monday, March 15, 2010

Cotton: Brazil Announces Preliminary List of IP, Patent Retaliation Against US

Reuters reports that Brazil announced its preliminary list of patent and IP restrictions that it will impose against the United States unless the US complies with a WTO ruling against its cotton subsidy programs or reaches some sort of compromise with Brazil:
The new measures, which are still subject to public hearings, would suspend for a limited time U.S. patents on pharmaceuticals, chemicals and biotechnology.

They would allow Brazil to restrict copyrights in the music and audiovisual industry. The measures listed in an official publication would also allow the government to increase fees and tighten regulations on registration of intellectual property rights.
As I've previously discussed, Brazil is entitled under a WTO arbitration ruling to impose about $830 million in sanctions against the United States due to US refusal to bring its cotton subsidy programs into conformity with global trade rules.  Brazil announced its final list of goods tariffs last Monday, and its press release on the preliminary IP/patent list is available here (translated via Google).  Interested parties will have 20 days to comment on the preliminary list, which is available (untranslated) here.  Interestingly, today's release says that Brazil will only impose $238m in IP/patent sanctions (leaving $591m for goods tariffs), despite saying just last week that it would follow the $270m/$560m split.  The basis for the change from previous reports is unclear.

What is clear, however, is that time is running out for the United States to resolve the dispute before Brazil begins applying the tariffs next month.  So far, there's been no word on a US solution.  

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