U.S.-based group Defenders of Property Rights (DPR) today submitted a letter calling on the Office of the United States Trade Representative to prevent what they call Brazil’s theft of U.S. drug patents and to consider sanctions against President Lula’s government as an option.
While U.S.-China economic relations have garnered headlines over the past few weeks, DPR has called on U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman to take a hard line with Brazil when it comes to protecting American intellectual property rights.
Brazil stands as the number one abuser of IP rights in the Western Hemisphere costing American businesses an estimated US$ 900 million in losses in 2003 alone according to the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).
Brazil, one of America’s largest trading partners, exported goods valued at $21.3 billion in 2003 to the U.S., of which, 14 percent enjoyed duty-free status.
In January 2001, due to a petition from the IIPA for a chronic lack of enforcement of copyright laws, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) placed Brazil on the Special 301 Watchlist.
On April 4, 2005 of this year, USTR gave Brazil six months to reverse its intellectual property abuses or loose its favored trade status with the United States.
In spite of this warning from the USTR, Brazil’s government has publicly announced that it will seize American patents of drugs so that, according to recent reports on Brazilian President Lula’s visit to Africa, it can become a generic drug exporter to the developing world.
“Brazil’s intellectual property abuses have long occurred at the expense of the American people,” said Nancie Marzulla, president of Defenders of Property Rights.
“Brazil’s intellectual property rights abuses under President Lula threaten all of America’s intellectual property-based industries, or 15% of our GDP. If negotiations fail to convince Brazil to change its ways, the U.S. Trade Representative should consider sanctions against Brazil.”
Brazil has become more brazen in recent weeks when it comes to IP protections. On May 11, 2005 President Lula supported a declaration at a summit of Latin American and Arab leaders in Brasilia stating that “intellectual property protection should not prevent developing countries from basic science to technology.”
Defenders of Property Rights was founded in 1991 to counterbalance the governmental threat to private property as a result of a broad range of regulations.
Defenders believes that society can achieve important social objectives such as protection of our environment and preservation of our national heritage without destroying private property rights or undermining free market principles.
Defenders of Property Rights