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Cablegate: Bolivia: Input for 2008 Special 301 Review

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLP #0301/01 0452145
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 142145Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6438
INFO RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS LA PAZ 000301

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

IPE JENNIFER BOGER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON KIPR BL
SUBJECT: BOLIVIA: INPUT FOR 2008 SPECIAL 301 REVIEW

REF: 07 LA PAZ 435

-------
SUMMARY
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1. (U) Post recommends that Bolivia remain on the Special 301
Watch List in 2008. Piracy and counterfeiting remain serious
problems, existing intellectual property rights (IPR)
legislation remains weak, and enforcement remains inadequate.
Post believes prospects for improvement are slim, especially
given the Morales' administration's inattention to IPR. Post
does not recommend any stronger steps against Bolivia at this
time, however, as such an action could encourage
anti-American rhetoric and damage ongoing USAID and Embassy
efforts to create an education and outreach program on IPR
with the Bolivian government and the general public. End
summary.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
IPR VIOLATIONS RAMPANT
- - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (U) Piracy and counterfeiting are widespread. Bootleg
CDs, DVDs, and other goods are sold on street corners and ion
stores across the country, and vendors operate with no fear
of punishment. Prominent IP lawyers estimate that there are
no legal sources of audio-visual materials in most of the
country. Counterfeiting, according to Pfizer executives, is
an equally serious problem, with domestic sales undercut by
copycat products and companies' reputations damaged by
ineffective or dangerous knockoffs.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
IPR LEGISLATION, ENFORCEMENT WEAK
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

3. (U) Existing IPR legislation remains weak. The 1992
Copyright Law predates the international standards
established under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) and falls short of
obligations under the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO
Performances and Phonograms Treaty, both of which Bolivia has
signed but not yet ratified.

4. (U) IPR enforcement efforts are inadequate, despite
recognition of copyright infringement as a public offense in
the 1992 Copyright Law and provisions for the criminal
prosecution of IPR violations in the 2001 Criminal Procedures
Code. Criminal charges are rarely filed, and civil suits, if
pursued, run into long delays. Criminal penalties are
limited to up to five years in jail, and civil penalties are
restricted to the recovery of direct economic damages.
Bolivian customs authorities continue to try to intercept
counterfeit goods shipments at international borders, but the
customs service lacks the human and financial resources
needed to be effective.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
DRAFT CONSTITUTION WEAKENS PHARMA PROTECTION
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

5. (U) It is not certain if the new constitution drafted by
the ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party will pass
unchanged or at all. If it were to pass, however, the draft
constitution would weaken property rights, particularly for
pharmaceuticals. The new constitution would allow for
private property rights only if they have a social function
and are not against the "collective interest." Intellectual
property rights for traditional knowledge and cultural items
would be emphasized. (Comment: The Bolivian National
Intellectual Property Service is already focusing on this
registry, to the detriment of industrial property claims. End
comment.) The public would be given a role in "medical
system decisions", and the medical system would specifically
prioritize the use of generics. In addition, the draft
constitution states that "access to medicines can not be
restricted due to intellectual property rights."

- - - -
Comment
- - - -

6. (U) Post believes that short-term prospects for greater
recognition and protection of IP are slim. The US Mission in
Bolivia is, however, currently developing a public outreach
campaign to attempt to improve knowledge of IP in the
government and select public audiences. While the IPR
situation in Bolivia merits continued standing on the Watch
List, Post recommends against any stronger action at this
time. Placement of Bolivia on the Priority Watch List would
have no positive practical effect, and Post's plans for an IP
education campaign within the Bolivian government would be
damaged if Bolivian officials reacted to a change in Special
301 status. For these reasons, Post recommends no change to
Bolivia's Special 301 Watch List status. End comment.
GOLDBERG

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