Antigua to Reject Intellectual Property Rights of US Companies as WTO Authorized Trade Sanction for Killing Offshore Online Gambling

By Dennis Crouch

The Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda has won its case against the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is now authorized and moving forward with the granted sanction – suspension of all American-owned intellectual property rights within the Antigua borders. This trade sanction comes as a response to the US campaign against off-shore on-line gambling. That campaign has decimated an Antiguan industry and was found to violate the US WTO trade obligations. Antigua has been negotiating with the US for the past decade on some mechanism to resolve the dispute.

In a press release, Hon. Carl Roberts High Commission from Antigua to the UK indicated the following: “For nearly a decade, Antigua has sought to resolve the dispute with the United States Government over the US failure to abide by American treaty obligations with regard to remote gaming.” Colin Murdoch, Trade Ambassador for Antigua goes on: “This decision [to suspend US IP rights] did not come easily. After countless proposals from our government have been more or less ignored by the Office of the USTR – numerous decisions by the WTO declaring the United States Government’s position illegal – and failure of the United States Government to provide meaningful proposals to end the dispute, the WTO provides this remedy not to encourage illicit behavior by nations; but rather to provide them with a way to secure their legal rights as sovereign nations.”

At this point, the Antiguan government has not indicated the exact date when suspension will begin or whether the suspension will apply to both IP procurement and enforcement. About 10 patent applications were filed in Antigua in both 2010 and 2011.

The Land of 365 Beaches may soon become the hot site for unlicensed but legal copyright streaming. Companies may want to proactively register their .AG domain as well.

7 thoughts on “Antigua to Reject Intellectual Property Rights of US Companies as WTO Authorized Trade Sanction for Killing Offshore Online Gambling

  1. “The Land of 365 Beaches may soon become the hot site for unlicensed but legal copyright streaming.”

    Who would stream copyrights?

  2. The next thing you know, Dotcom’s a millionaire.
    The kinfolk said, Kim, move away from there!
    They said, “Antigua is the place you oughta be,”
    So he loaded up the truck and he moved to Wadadli.

  3. Meant to say I’m not sure how this will work–in other words, will the Antiguan gov’t itself sell copies of protected works such as movies, software, music, etc. until it collects $21M in sales each year? Will they set up their own version of iTunes? Very strange situation indeed

  4. Not clear to me how this could work, as the WTO authorized Antigua to suspend IP protection on up to $21 million a year (Antigua wanted $3.4 billion a year). It sounds like the ruling would allow Antigua to sell, for example, copies of movies, software, etc.

  5. About 10 patent applications were filed in Antigua in both 2010 and 2011.

    Are there any openings for patent examiners? Heh.

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