The CAFTA Report
Copyright and intellectual property protection

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State-of-the-Art protection for trademarks

Here are some aspects of intellectual property protection based on a summary provided by the U.S. Trade Representative:
 
The treaty requires a system to resolve disputes about trademarks used in Internet domain names, which is important to prevent cyber-squatting with respect to high-value domain names.

The agreement applies principle of "first-in-time, first-in-right" to trademarks and geographical indications, so that the first person who acquires a right to a trademark or geographical indication is the person who has the right to use it.

The pact encourages the development of an on-line system for the registration and maintenance of trademarks, as well as a searchable database. It also requires transparent procedures for the registration of trademarks, including geographical indications.

Protection for copyrighted digital works

Copyright owners maintain rights over temporary copies of their works on computers, which is important in protecting music, videos, software and text from widespread unauthorized sharing via the Internet.

The agreement stablishes that only authors, composers and other copyright owners have the right to make their work available on-line. It also nsures extended terms of protection for copyrighted works, including phonograms, consistent with emerging international trends.

The agreement establishes strong anti-circumvention provisions to prohibit tampering with technologies (like embedded codes on discs) that are designed to prevent piracy and unauthorized distribution over the Internet.

It also nsures that governments use only legitimate computer software, thus setting a positive example for private users.

The pact also requires rules to prohibit the unauthorized receipt or distribution of encrypted satellite signals, thus preventing piracy of satellite television programming.

And it provides rules for the liability of Internet service providers for copyright infringement, reflecting the balance struck in the U.S. Millennium Copyright Act between legitimate Internet service provider activity and the infringement of copyrights.

In all categories of intellectual property rights, U.S. companies will be treated at least as well as Central American companies, and the agreement makes a number of important improvements to intellectual property rights protections.

Patents & trade secrets: stronger protections

the agreement provides for the extension of patent terms to compensate for delays in granting the original patent, consistent with U.S. practice. It also limits the grounds for revoking a patent, thus protecting against arbitrary revocation.

The trade treaty also clarifies that test data and trade secrets submitted to a government for the purpose of product approval will be protected against unfair commercial use for a period of five years for pharmaceuticals and 10 years for agricultural chemicals. the pact also closes potential loopholes to these provisions.

In addition, the agreement requires a system to prevent the marketing of  pharmaceutical products that infringe patents.

the agreement also provides protection for newly developed plant varieties.

Penalties for piracy and counterfeiting

In many countries implementation legislation criminalizes end-user piracy, providing strong deterrence against piracy and counterfeiting. However, Costa Rican lawmakers stopped short of requjiring jail terms for abuse. Fines are instituted instead.

The agreement requires all parties to authorize the seizure, forfeiture, and destruction of counterfeit and pirated goods and the equipment used to produce them. The pact also provides for enforcement against goods-in-transit to deter violators from using ports or free trade zones to traffic in pirated products.

The trade treaty mandates both statutory and actual damages for copyright infringement and trademark piracy. This serves as a deterrent against piracy, and ensures that monetary damages can be awarded even when it is difficult to assign a monetary value to the violation.






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