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Cablegate: Brunei: Special 301 Review

VZCZCXRO3380
RR RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHBD #0069 0520827
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210827Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4110
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHZS/ASEAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 000069

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/MTS
STATE PASS USTR FOR FOR WEISEL, BAE AND EHLERS
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS TO USPTO
SINGAPORE FOR FCS AND DHS
BANGKOK FOR FCS:NESS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD KIPR ECON PREL BX
SUBJECT: BRUNEI: SPECIAL 301 REVIEW

Ref: A) State 9475

B) Bandar Seri Begawan 43
C) 07 Bandar Seri Begawan 276
D) 07 Bandar Seri Begawan 165
E) 06 Bandar Seri Begawan 12

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SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) Having recently reengaged with the Government of Brunei on
IPR protection and enforcement (refs B, C and D), it is not yet time
to put Brunei on the Special 301 Watch List. GoB enforcement
efforts have been minimal in the past, but we see increased
willingness to work with rights holders to strengthen enforcement
cooperation (ref B & C) following a disastrous failed enforcement
effort in late 2005 (ref E). Post recommends that we continue to
work with the GoB and rights holders to improve enforcement
cooperation and not/not place Brunei on the Special 301 Watch List
until we have had sufficient time to judge the seriousness of
current GoB political will to improve enforcement. END SUMMARY.

------------------------------------
Better Engagement on IPR Enforcement
------------------------------------

2. (SBU) As detailed in refs B & C, the GoB has responded to our
increased engagement on IPR enforcement issues since our last formal
meeting under the U.S.-Brunei Trade and Investment Framework
Agreement (TIFA) (ref D). Brunei authorities acknowledge that
optical disc piracy is endemic and that their enforcement efforts
have been limited in the recent past, but counter that no rights
holder filed a complaint during all of calendar 2007.
Notwithstanding this, GoB officials have requested USG training on
IPR enforcement and have requested more detailed information on
allegations of optical disc manufacture and export from Brunei as
police have no indications that such activities are ongoing in
Brunei. Further, the GoB has requested our assistance in
reestablishing relations with IP rights holders to renew cooperative
enforcement efforts.

--------------------------------------
Getting More/Better Enforcement Action
--------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Police, Customs, and the Attorney General's Office all
point to a need under Brunei's Common Law legal system, a legacy of
Brunei's century as a British Protectorate, for rights holders to
provide expert testimony in person and not/not by deposition to have
a reasonable chance of a successful prosecution. This creates a
"chicken-or-egg" situation requiring the rebuilding of mutual trust
as authorities are reluctant to take enforcement action for fear of
a lack of after-action support from rights holders. Conversely,
rights holders remain justifiably concerned that authorities will
fail to take appropriate enforcement action in response to
complaints (see refs C and E for how we got to this point).

4. (SBU) In response to the GoB's requests for assistance in working
with rights holders (refs B, C & D) to improve enforcement, post has
reached out to regional representatives of rights holders including
Microsoft's in-country representative and the MPAA's Singapore
office. These industry representatives have indicated that they
prefer a cooperative, as opposed to confrontational approach to
improving enforcement in Brunei. USPTO is also planning to offer
enforcement training this coming spring (ref B).

------------------------------------------
COMMENT: Not Yet Time for 301 Watchlisting
------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Post believes that placing Brunei on the Special 301 Watch
List now could sour GoB officials from following up on their recent
initiatives aimed at improving enforcement. We should continue to
work to build bridges between authorities and rights holders while
pressing the GoB, including through our TIFA dialogue, to follow
through on assurances of better enforcement. By next year's Special
301 review, we should have enough of a track record to make a
decision about the seriousness of the GoB's new political will to
translate talk into stronger enforcement action.


FRIEDMAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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