The “Special 301” Report
The IPE Office works with more than 290 U.S. embassies, consulates, and missions to monitor the status of IPR and develop a unique understanding of key international IP issues. This in-country understanding allows the Department of State to provide unique insights to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)-led annual Special 301 Report , which serves to identify opportunities and challenges facing U.S. innovative and creative industries in foreign markets. The Report describes the state of IPR protection and enforcement in U.S. trading partners around the world and provides an easy reference for foreign governments and the private sector. Department of State Foreign Service Officers serving overseas play an important role in ensuring the Report’s accuracy by verifying claims submitted by stakeholders and by engaging host governments to build upon their capacity to protect IP.
The Notorious Markets Report
In addition to the Special 301 Report, IPE collaborates with USTR and other government agencies to publish the annual Notorious Markets List under the auspices of the Special 301 Report, which highlights specific physical and online markets around the world that engage in and facilitate substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. These markets are highlighted on the List not only because they exemplify global counterfeiting and piracy concerns, but also because their scale of infringement activity cause significant economic harm to U.S. IPR holders. The publication of the Notorious Markets List has guided authorities to carry out legal action where appropriate and further intensify their efforts in combating piracy and counterfeiting.
IP Crime Enforcement
We also work with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) through the International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) program. ICHIPs are experienced DOJ attorneys placed at U.S. embassies in key regions to enhance foreign law enforcement partner capacity to investigate and prosecute IPR crimes.
The IPE Team also works with the United States Patent and Trademark Offices to place IP Attachés at several embassies and consulates. IP Attachés are technical experts who work to improve IP systems internationally. The attachés advocate to improve IP policies, laws, and regulations abroad for the benefit of U.S. businesses and stakeholders.