Chile’s intellectual property rights laws do not appear to be fully consistent with their international obligations, and shortcomings remain in copyright and trademark enforcement. Chile has made efforts to arrest those who infringe copyrights, but attempts to enforce copyrights in Chile have met with considerable delays in the courts and weak sentences for offenders. In 2000, for instance, the legislature passed a new criminal procedure law designed to improve the old system. However, separate legislation intended to bring Chile’s legal framework into compliance with TRIPS is still pending. Indeed, the bill as it stands now does not appear to provide for the effective use of injunctions in copyright and trademark infringement cases.
Furthermore, the United States is quite concerned about the November 2001 announcement by the Ministry of Health that it would issue marketing approval for pharmaceuticals without regard to whether a patented version already exists. Marketing approvals for many patented drugs have already been issued, seriously undermining the rights of patent holders. Patent approval also remains slow, with time for approval averaging over four years. The United States urges Chile to strengthen its enforcement efforts, and enact legislation to fully comply with TRIPS obligations including by providing adequate protection of confidential data and an effective linkage between the health and patent authorities.
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