Written Submissions : 2016 Special 301 Report

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With the public hearing for the 2016 Special 301 Report going on at the USTR, I want to bring forth some pertinent statistics pertaining to the written submissions. These statistics have been deduced by me based on the written comments made as of February 19, 2016. To view the entire docket of the written comments made, visit here.

For a timeline of the 2016 Special Report, visit here. ( For more on the Special 301 Report, visit my post here and here. I also have a working Op-Ed in progress which I will share with the readers once it is published.)


Total Written comments received : 75 (Including notices of intent to testify and duplicate submissions)

Written comments serving as source of information for designating countries : 66

Notices of intent to testify and repetitions:

Watch List

Number of organizations recommending India to be designated as a Priority Watch List Country (PWL) : 11

 (It is pertinent to note that none of the trade groups have recommended India to be either designated as a Priority Foreign Country or as a Watch List Country. I’ve compiled a list of organizations that demand India to be designated as PWL alongwith their substantive areas of concern. Whether they recommended for heightened scrutiny by way of an Out- of-Cycle Review has also been included. The file is available here.)

Number of organizations that made no recommendation for countries to be designated but made adverse comments on India’s IPR framework : 5

These include-

(i) The Internet Association

(ii) The Intellectual Property Owner’s Association

(iii) Croplife America

(iv) The Trademark Working Group

(v)  Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property

Number of organizations that did not designate any country : 5  

These are inclusive of organizations that expressed their dismay over the Special 301 Process being partisan and serving U.S. trade interests. These include –

(i) The Generic Pharmaceutical Association of America 

(ii) International Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (IGBA) 

(iii) Alibaba Group 

(iv) Knowledge Ecology International – Submitted notice of intent to testify on the usage of compulsory licenses including cancer drug patents in India.

(v) Public Citizen – Defended India’s patent regime as complying with WTO standards.

Number of organizations that designated other countries except India : 8  

These include –

(i) U.S. Dairy Export Council & National Milk Producers Federation

(ii) REACT

(iii) Bridgestone Americas, Inc 

(iv) Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) 

(v) American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) 

(vi) Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

(vii) Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administration

(viii) The Sports Coalition 

Number of Indian organizations that submitted their written comments: 3

They defended India’s IP regime and include –

(iii) The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) 

(iv) Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) 

(v) Confederation of Indian Industries (CII)  

Medicines Should Not be a Luxury
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Number of Corporations that made India specific comments but did not designate : 3

(i) Boeing – Was overall in favor of India’s existent IP regime. Unlike many corporations, Boeing does not view India IP’s regime as a trade barrier for itself.

(iii) Honeywell International Inc. – Lauded India’s IP regime and did not view it as an impediment for itself to conduct business in India.

(ii) General Electric Company – Expressed some concerns over India’s IP regime. These include –

(a) Backlog in patent and trademark offices.

(b) Absence of protection for trade secrets.

Number  of comments made by Governments and organizations of various nations except India : 22

These include –

(i)  Government of Bulgaria

(ii) Arabian Anti-Piracy Alliance

(iii) Government of Ecuador

(iv) Embassy of Ukraine to the USA, Intent to Testify

(v) HBO Latin America Group 

(vi) Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic

 (vii) Embassy of Indonesia

(viii) Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U. S.

(ix) Registro de la Propiedad Intelectual ( Ministry of Guatemala)

(x) Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property IPI / State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

(xi) Ministerio De Economia Y Competitividad

(xii) Panama Ministry of Trade and Industries

(xiii) Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine

 (xiv )Bedreddine Radi

(xv) Comments of the Government of the Philippines

(xvi) Department of Special Investigation under Ministry of Justice

(xvii) Office of Commercial Affairs, Royal Thai Embassy

(xviii) Misin Salud, Fundacin Karisma y Fundacin Ifarma

(xix)  Government of the Republic of Costa Rica

(xx) Apex – Brasil 

(xxi) Canadian Patent Utility Coalition

(xxii) Federation of Industries of the State of So Paulo, National Confederation of Industry and Brazil Industries Coalition 

Number of Notice of Intent to Testify : 3 (excluding Knowledge Ecology International)

These include –

(i) Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment (UACT) 

(ii) The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA)

(iii) Embassy of Czech Republic in D.C.

A noteworthy aspect is the absence of Government of India to submit a notice of intent to testify at the public hearing. I’ll be covering the public hearing at ISGLP’s blog as soon as the details are in public domain. (the hearing is expected to continue until March 4th, 2016). Watch out for this space!





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