The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published the Special 301 Report, an annual review of the state of intellectual property prosecution and enforcement in U.S. trading partners. The report provides a spotlight on foreign countries and their laws, policies, and practices to provide adequate and effective IP protection and enforcement for inventors, creators, brands, manufacturers, and service providers.
In 2022, Colombia made progress on the outstanding provisions related to obligations under the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, including provisions regarding enforcement against online copyright infringement. However, Colombia remains on the Watch List for 2023 as the success in combating counterfeiting and other IP violations remains limited. High levels of digital piracy, piracy of licensed content through mobile apps, the large number of pirated and counterfeit goods crossing the border, and the low numbers of seizures and criminal raids are challenges Colombia will have to overcome in 2023.
The USTR report is consistent with the figures presented by the Latin American Anti-Smuggling Alliance at their last annual meeting. It is estimated that, in Colombia, the equivalent of USD 5.630.142 is smuggled in merchandise in a year through unofficial markets and distribution hubs around the country.
IP infringement, including trademark counterfeiting and copyright piracy, undermine competitive advantages in innovation and creativity, causing significant financial losses for right holders and legitimate business. Anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting procedures guarantee the care of intangible assets without generating disproportionate costs and, at the same time, discourage infringement of their rights.