A New Dispute Concerning the TRIPS Agreement: The United States and China in the WTO
On 10 April 2007, the United States filed a complaint against China in the dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization (WTO) with respect to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The United States has requested “consultations” with China on four separate matters: the threshold requirements for criminal procedures and penalties in Chinese law; the disposal of goods confiscated by Chinese customs authorities that infringe intellectual property rights; the issue of copyright and related rights protection for works that have not been authorized for publication or distribution within China; and the unavailability of criminal procedures and penalties for persons engaged in unauthorized reproduction or unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works. Despite widespread allegations of intellectual property piracy, this is the first official complaint that has been lodged against China in the WTO with respect to its obligations under the TRIPS Agreement. While consultations with China have been requested, no dispute settlement panel has been established with respect to the complaint. This note will outline the complaint against China in more detail.