U.S. Chamber calls on NAFTA Countries to modernize and elevate IP frameworks

By Gene Quinn
April 27, 2018

Each year the U.S. Chamber of Commerce measures 50 countries using 40 different IP indicators. The output of this comprehensive study is the annual U.S. Chamber International IP Index, published by the Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). At the time the Chamber’s 2018 Index was released in February 2018, the report indicated that IP rights could be updated and modernized with efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“[I]t remains unclear whether the current renegotiation between the U.S., Canada,and Mexico will lead to an agreement that incorporates such changes,” the Chamber report reads. “During the initial stages of negotiations, Canadian resistance to an ambitious IP chapter appeared to be an obstacle to setting a strong regional and international benchmark.”

Seizing the opportunity presented by World IP Day, the U.S. Chamber and counterpart organizations in Mexico and Canada wrote to key government officials in each of the three NAFTA countries to support a strong intellectual property standard if and when any modernized NAFTA agreement is ultimately completed.


“As the United States, Canada, and Mexico continue the rapid pace of negotiations, it is imperative that the updated NAFTA include 21st century protections for creative and innovative industries across North America,” reads a letter sent by a coalition of industry organizations to the three NAFTA trade ministers yesterday.

The  U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Intellectual Property Counsel and the Asociacion Mexicana de Industrias de Investigacion Farmaceutica, A.C. wrote on World IP Day to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Honorable Chyrstia Freeland, U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, and The Honorable Ildefonso Guajardo Villareal, Mexico’s Secretary of Economy. The letter was for the purpose of expressing “support for a robust and high-standard intellectual property (IP) chapter in any modernized NAFTA agreement.”

The letter explains that the results from the Chamber’s IP Index has shown that as a whole North America is at a considerable disadvantage compared with both Asia and Europe. “NAFTA modernization is an opportunity to elevate the IP frameworks to a level commensurate with the world’s leading economies – if it fails to put Canada and Mexico among the top 10 countries ranked on the Index it will be a missed opportunity,” the letter reads. Currently Canada ranks 18th out of 50 countries for overall IP protections, while Mexico currently ranks 24th out of 50 countries. The U.S. ranks first overall, but 12th in terms of patent system strength.

In addition to generally calling for an agreement in principle on a comprehensive, high-standard for intellectual property protections, the letter specifically calls for the three nations to back IP protections with “robust enforcement mechanisms.”


The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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There are currently 1 Comment comments.

  1. Ternary April 27, 2018 11:35 pm

    One of the intents of the AIA was to harmonize our patent system with the rest of the world and to strengthen it. That did not work out too well.

    Before we start talking about “support for a robust and high-standard intellectual property (IP) chapter in any modernized NAFTA agreement” we should clean up the mess that we currently are in. No more modernization, coordination and harmonization with the rest of the world. Most of us are sick and tired of those efforts.

    World IP Day was celebrated here in the aftermath of the Oil States decision. I believe that by now everyone is pretty much fed up how our system has been modernized.