Basics by Free Trade Agreement: Morocco
How Does The FTA Protect Intellectual Property Rights?
U.S. industry has expressed a high level of satisfaction with the IPR provisions of the Agreement. U.S. industry calls the Agreement's IPR chapter, "the most advanced IP chapter in any FTA negotiated so far" and "a precedential agreement for future FTAs." Morocco has agreed to protect IPR to a degree unseen in many other developing countries. Some of the highlights for enhanced copyright, trademark, and patent protection and enforcement include:
• Ensures extended terms of protection (e.g., life of the author plus 70 years) for copyrighted works.
• Establishes strong anti-circumvention provisions to prohibit tampering with technologies that are designed to prevent piracy and unauthorized distribution over the Internet.
• Provides rules for the liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for copyright infringement, reflecting the balance struck in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act between legitimate ISP activity and the infringement of copyrights.
Patents & Undisclosed Information
• Provides for the adjustment of patent terms to compensate for unreasonable delays in granting the original patent.
• Clarifies that test data and trade secrets submitted to a government for the purpose of product approval will be protected against unfair commercial use for a period of five years for
pharmaceuticals and ten years for agricultural chemicals.
• Requires measures to prevent the marketing approval of pharmaceutical products that infringe patents, and to provide notice when the infringement or validity of a pharmaceutical patent is to be challenged.
• Requires a system to resolve disputes about trademarks used in connection with Internet domain names, which is important to address trademark cyber-piracy.
• Applies the principle of "first-in-time, first-in-right" to trademarks and geographical indications, so that the first person who acquires a right to a trademark or geographical indication is the person who has the right to use it.
• Criminalizes end-user software piracy, providing strong deterrence against piracy and counterfeiting.
• Requires both Parties to authorize the seizure, forfeiture, and destruction of counterfeit and pirated goods and the equipment used to produce them. Ex officio action may be taken in border and criminal cases, thus providing more effective enforcement.
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