The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its annual Special 301 Report, which documents the efforts of trading partners to protect and enforce Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), on April 30. The Special 301 Report is based on written submissions from the public, a hearing before USTR, and an assessment of the IPR landscape of each country reviewed. The name of the Report refers to the section of the Trade Act of 1974 that governs relief from unfair trade practices and enforcement of U.S. rights under trade agreements. Of the 82 trading partners reviewed in the 2014 Report, USTR placed 10 countries on the Priority Watch List and 27 countries on the Watch List for IPR breaches including internet piracy and improper market supervision.
China, India, and Russia were all listed on the Priority Watch List, which focuses increased bilateral attention on problem areas and brings targeted countries closer to a monitoring regime. In particular, USTR's report continues to cite China for pressuring foreign stakeholders to transfer IPR to domestic entities, non-enforcement of IPR, and misappropriation of trade secrets. In contrast, USTR removed Italy and the Philippines from this year's Watch List.