Lebanon is suffering from severe copyright problems along with inadequate and ineffective protection of intellectual property rights, or IPR, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, reported Lebanon This Week, an economic publication of the Byblos Bank Group. The report said, “The Office of the United States Trade Representative maintained Lebanon on the Watch List for the ineffective and inadequate protection of intellectual property rights and for severe copyright problems, along with 22 other countries and jurisdictions” in its annual “Special 301” review of the state of IPR protection and enforcement in U.S. trading partners around the world. The report said that USTR considers the proliferation of counterfeit pharmaceuticals that are manufactured, sold and distributed in Lebanon to remain a concern.
“USTR encouraged Lebanese authorities to make progress on pending IPR legislative reforms, including amendments to the patent and copyright laws and the ratification of draft laws about trademark and industrial designs,” the report said. “It called on the Lebanese authorities to ratify and implement several IPR treaties, including the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, as well as the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks.”
According to the report, USTR encouraged authorities to implement and ratify the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, and to join the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the Madrid Protocol.
Moreover, Lebanon This Week added that the USTR called on authorities to provide the country’s Cyber Crime & Intellectual Property Rights Bureau with ex-officio enforcement authority, as well as to extend to all of its enforcement authorities adequate resources to carry out their functions. “It also welcomed the continued efforts of law enforcement agencies and the Intellectual Property Protection Office at the Ministry of Economy & Trade to strengthen Lebanon’s administrative and enforcement capacity for IPR protection. It also urged authorities to commit additional resources to support the Intellectual Property Protection Office.”
The report said that USTR included 11 countries this year on its Priority Watch List, with Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey being the only countries from the Middle East & Africa on the list in addition to Algeria and Kuwait.
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