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The Role of the USPTO and IP Policy
The passage of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 (AIPA) (P.L. 106-113) set the stage for the USPTO to advise the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, and all Federal agencies, on national and international IP policy issues, including IP protection in other countries. USPTO is also authorized by the AIPA to provide guidance, conduct programs and studies, and otherwise interact with foreign IP offices and international intergovernmental organizations on matters involving the protection of intellectual property.
Our established Office of Policy and International Affairs carry out the functions authorized by the AIPA. These include (1) working with Congress to implement international IP treaties; (2) providing technical assistance to foreign governments that are looking to develop or improve their IP laws and systems; (3) training foreign IP officials on IP enforcement; (4) advising the Department of State and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on drafting/reviewing of IP sections in bilateral investment treaties and trade agreements; (5) advising USTR on intellectual property issues in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and working closely with USTR in seeking assurances from our trading partners of higher levels of IP enforcement than those set forth in the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs); and (6) working with USTR and industry on the annual review of IP protection and enforcement under the Special 301 provisions of the Trade Act of 1974. The USPTO also represents the United States in United Nation bodies, such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), to help set the international standards for IP protection and enforcement.