US-Antigua Near Deal on Resolving Decade Long WTO Gambling Dispute
The Caribbean island nation of Antigua, which took the United States to the WTO over its online gambling prohibition and won and which was about to launch a royalty-free download site for US digital media – movies, TV shows, music, games, software, etc. – without compensating the companies and individuals holding the associated intellectual property (IP) rights. The move had been authorized by the WTO, but meetings between Vice President Biden and Antigua Prime Minister Spencer have left both sides hopeful a final resolution is near.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has announced the formation of a select committee to oversee the implementation process, as the nation seeks to suspend certain concessions and other obligations relating to United States intellectual property rights as sanctioned by the World Trade Organisation (the “WTO”) at a session in January of this year.
A statement from the Government’s information agency announced the establishment of a seven-member “WTO Remedies Implementation Committee” (the “RIC”), chaired by Antigua’s Attorney General Justin Simon. The Committee will direct the government’s plan to build the framework necessary to suspend selected US intellectual property rights to the tune of US $21 million per year, effective from April, 2006.
The newly formed committee also includes Permanent Secretary in the Department of Trade, Industry and Commerce, Ambassador Colin Murdoch, Magistrate and Deputy Registrar of Intellectual Property, Conliffe Clarke, Legislative Drafter in the Department of Legal Affairs, Ayesha Baisden, Deputy Financial Secretary in the Department of Finance, John Edwards and two additional persons who will be designated by the Ministry of Telecommunications, Science and Technology and by the Antiguan Intellectual Property office, along with legal counsel, Mark Mendel.
Antigua moves to collect on WTO sanctions against the United States in gaming dispute, Caricom News Service.