Intellectual Property Rights

The term “intellectual property” refers collectively to intangible property such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets, and it shares many of the characteristics associated with tangible, personal property. Intellectual property can be bought, sold, licensed, or given away like real property. In the same way, intellectual property can also be pirated. IPR piracy has increased in recent years, and it involves the production and sale of counterfeit versions of everything from clothes and batteries to compact discs, software, auto parts, and medicines.

The social cost of piracy is tremendous. Inadequate IPR protection causes job losses for citizens, income losses for companies, and revenue losses for governments. IPR protection is more than an economic problem. It is linked with national security due to the growing participation of organized crime networks.

Policies that protect intellectual property rights, or IPR laws, promote development by helping to ensure a diverse and competitive marketplace. Safeguarding IPR stimulates innovation, creates a larger and more capable work force, attracts new capital, and benefits the entire world.

The United States is committed to improving IPR protection domestically and abroad as a means of promoting innovation, creativity, and economic growth.

In February 2004, the Croatian Government ratified the 1998 U.S.-Croatia Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning Intellectual Property Rights, and the government is in the process of drafting implementing regulations to bring it into force. While ratification of the MOU is a positive step in improving IPR protection, Croatia remains on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Special 301 Watch List due to concerns about Croatia’s continued failure to provide protection for confidential information submitted as a condition of drug registration, weaknesses in its enforcement of patent rights, and long registration periods for medical products.

We are working with the government of Croatia to further develop Croatia’s IPR standards and practices as well as ensure protection for U.S. companies in Croatia.

USTR Intellectual Property Report

Issued by the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office

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