Indonesia is Committed to IP Protection Following Release of 2021 Priority Watch List

Indonesia responded to its placement on the 2021 Priority Watch List (PWL) from the United States Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) by announcing its commitment to prevent and tackle widespread piracy and counterfeit.

In this annual Special 301 Report, nine countries including Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and Venezuela were prioritized on the watch list due to ongoing challenges and concerns of an ineffective IP ecosystem. Indonesia has been a recurring member of the priority watch list since the beginning of this report in 1989.

The Special 301 Report noted that the lack of enforcement against IP theft and ineffective cooperation between government agencies and the private sector creates a large market for counterfeit goods and online piracy in this Southeast Asian country. Likewise, the report highlighted that Indonesia’s 2016 Patent Law creates a burden for innovators to “work” their patented inventions, while not fully protecting creators against unfair commercial use and unauthorized disclosure. The highly complex application process for trademark and registrations discourages innovations and sways R&D investments to create better products than before.

USTR highlighted the positive steps the archipelago has addressed in amending the “2016 Patent Law to remove local manufacturing and use requirements” and improving collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Informatics and the Directorate General for Intellectual Property (DGIP). In addition, border enforcement was granted ex officio authority to oversee all IP-theft-related cases by the Ministry of Finance in 2018.

In response to the Special 301 Report, Djatmiko Bris Witjaksono, the Directorate General of Trade Negotiations at the Trade Ministry, released in a statement that “To prevent ill-effects from Indonesia languishing on the priority watch list, we will intensify talks on intellectual property rights […] and push for Indonesia to be excluded from the list.” The Directorate General highlighted that although the US and Indonesia already have strong trade ties, there is always room to improve bilateral relations.


Photo Credit: “Flag of Indonesia, Undated” by Nathan Hughes Hamilton is licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)