Cablegate: Egypt Claims Ipr Improvements During Ustr Visit


DE RUEHEG #1813/01 2320830
R 190830Z AUG 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


Sensitive but Unclassified, not for Internet Distribution

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: While maintaining their longstanding
resistance to USG requests regarding pharmaceutical test
data exclusivity, GOE officials claimed progress in
protecting intellectual property rights (IPR) during a
USTR-led visit July 27-29. Private-sector representatives
agreed that IPR protection is improving, noting an
increased political will to enforce ICT-related copyright
protections even as technological advances make piracy
cheaper and easier. GOE and private-sector representatives
also agreed on the need for more training for Egyptian
inspectors, prosecutors and judges, as well as increased
public awareness of the economic damage of uncontrolled
counterfeiting and piracy, and the health and safety
hazards posed by illegal products. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) An interagency team comprising Jennifer Groves and
Sonia Franceski of USTR, Stephen Keat of State EEB, Tom
Sams of the Department of Commerce, and Oliver Metzger of
the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress visited
Egypt July 27-29 for discussions on IPR protection and US-
Egyptian trade relations. The delegation met with GOE
ministries and agencies concerned with trade and IPR
protection as well as private-sector groups including the
Egyptian Center for Intellectual Property and Information
Technology and the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt.
Groves also spoke to an Arab League government and private-
sector conference on "Modern Strategies for Combating
Counterfeiting and Piracy".


3. (SBU) GOE trade and health officials reiterated their
longstanding position that a USG request regarding test
data exclusivity for pharmaceutical marketing applications
would exceed Egypt's obligations under the Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Agreement
(reftel). Groves noted that while the GOE's regulations do
not clearly provide protection against unauthorized
reliance on pharmaceutical marketing approval data, the
health ministry has in practice respected innovator drug
patents and provided adequate data protection in recent
years, and Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali promised to
continue doing so in meetings with USTR Schwab and Commerce
Secretary Gutierrez in Washington last year. Samia Salah,
head of the GOE's Drug Policy and Planning Committee, took
under advisement Groves' request for written confirmation
of that pledge.

Copyright Enforcement

4. (SBU) Representatives of copyright-reliant industries
including Arab Radio and Television (ART), Arab Media
Corporation (AMC), Mazzika music channel, and software
firms were complimentary toward the efforts of the GOE's
Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA)
to increase IPR protection.

5. (SBU) In a meeting organized by the Egyptian Center for
Intellectual Property and Information Technology, the AMC
representative said that IPR protection had improved
significantly in his market during the last six months. He
said that GOE officials are demonstrating increased
political will to combat IPR violations through raids on
illegal cable and satellite distribution, improved handling
of evidence, and increased judicial training. However, he
noted that Arabic music remains the most pirated music in
the world. The Mazzika representative noted that pirated
versions of his company's music appear on the internet
within a day of release. Egyptian expatriates in the
United States are the biggest consumers of the pirated
music, he said.

6. (SBU) Industry representatives noted concern about the
overlapping authorities of ITIDA and the Ministry of
Culture, which has a historically poor record of IPR
enforcement. In a separate meeting, Mohamed Abdou, a
deputy to the Secretary General of Supreme Council of
Culture, told the delegation that the Ministry intends to
draft guidelines to clarify new roles of the two Ministries
in the area of entertainment software. However, Mohammed
Hegazy of ITIDA said separately that the Ministry of
Culture and ITIDA already agree that the distribution
license for all software should come from ITIDA. While
ITIDA appears better able to enforce IPR for software,
Hegazy warned that his office will have increasing
difficulty soliciting case-by-case assistance from
individual right-holders because of an increasing workload.
His office now produces about 25 technical reports a day.

Requests for training

7. (SBU) GOE and private-sector officials noted a need for
increased capacity in several IPR-related fields. Salah
said the Ministry of Health is seeking training for
inspections for counterfeit drugs, inspection of biological
drug plants, and processing drug counterfeiting cases from
start to finish. She said that pharmaceutical manufacturers
such as Lilly, AstraZeneca, and Glaxo have already offered
training to help combat counterfeits. Mohamed Abou Shady,
head of the Anti-Counterfeiting and Trade Police, also
sought cooperation from right-holder companies and the USG
to bolster his unit's IPR training regimen. (Unfortunately
Abou Shady has since retired, and we believe his successor
lacks experience in IPR.) Industry representatives cited a
continuing interest in USPTO training.

8. (SBU) Comment: In addition to requests for more
training, the universal refrain we heard from government
and industry is for more public awareness of IPR
protection. However, we sense that the problem is not so
much awareness but apathy. Retail buyers of pirated songs
and software likely know, but do not care, that the
products are illegal. We believe Egypt would benefit from
public-awareness campaigns that highlight the health and
safety dangers of counterfeit products such as bogus
pharmaceuticals and auto parts, as well as the economic
damage caused by uncontrolled counterfeiting and piracy,
such as the loss of jobs and investment in copyright-
reliant industries. Vigorous prosecution of IPR pirates,
and publicity about significant sentences, would also help
Egypt improve respect for IPR. We will continue working
with GOE and industry representatives on these objectives.

9. (U) The visiting delegation did not have an opportunity
to clear this message.


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