Annually the United States Trade Representatives publishes the Special 301 USTR Report on global Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection and enforcement. The Special 301 Report reflects the US administration concerns when dealing with various global intellectual property issues. Within each Special 301 USTR report are two lists, the Priority Watch List and theWatch List. These lists contain countries that, according to the United States, have weak or insufficient IPR protection and enforcement mechanisms. Countries on the Priority Watch Listexperience an inadequate level of intellectual property rights protection or a weak market access for persons relying on intellectual property protection. Countries on the Watch List do not pledge complete commitment to address underlying intellectual property rights problems.
An important development concerning the Middle East region is the removal of Saudi Arabiafrom the Watch List for the year 2010. Saudi Arabia was removed because of its increasingly stringent IPR policy of the last year that has significantly improved IPR protection and enforcement in the country.
Egypt, Kuwait and Lebanon have remained on the Watch List for one more year, even though improvements in the safeguard of IPR have been noted in the above mentioned countries.
Algeria has remained the only Arab country on the Priority Watch List. Although serious efforts have been made in 2009 by the government of Algeria to improve intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, the Special 301 USTR urges Algeria to step up its laws regarding patents, especially pharmaceutical products, as well as continue border measures to protect against counterfeiting and piracy.
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