The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry on Tuesday blasted the decision of the Office of the US Trade Representative to keep Israel on the priority watch list in its "2007 Special 301 Report," which obstructs the country's bid to be admitted to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The "Special 301" Report is an annual review of the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement, and in its report, released earlier this week, the US Representative states that "Israel appears to have left unchanged its intellectual property regime that results in inadequate protection against unfair commercial use of data generated to obtain marketing approval."
In its official response, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said it "strongly disagrees with the claims of the US Trade Representative and the Organization for Intellectual Property Rights and feels that it has complied completely in all areas that had been deemed lacking in the past."
"Additionally, nations which have demonstrated less of a compliance than Israel have been admitted to the OECD," pointed out the ministry, which is currently in contact with the Office of the US Trade Representative in the hopes of straightening out the situation.
The report additionally noted that Israel has not changed aspects of its 2005 law "that significantly reduced the term of pharmaceutical patent protection by reducing the time granted to compensate for delays in obtaining regulatory approval of a drug."
According to the report, in order for Israel to be admitted to the OECD, which now has some 30 member nations, it must provide a higher level of protection that reflects its status as a partner in the US-Israel free trade agreement. The US also plans to monitor proposed amendments to Israel's copyright regime to ensure that there is no weakening of national treatment for US rights holders.
Israel was one of 12 countries on the priority watch list, which also included, among others, China, Russia, India and Turkey.
The intellectual property issue is just one factor considered for admittance to the OECD.