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05PARIS1307 2005-03-01 17:42:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Paris
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1. (U) Per reftel, post has reviewed intellectual property
rights protection in France, focusing most recently on piracy
of optical media, GOF efforts to prevent unauthorized
procurement and/or use of software, and compliance with TRIPS
obligations. Post provided reftel points and industry
comments to the Finance Ministry's Directorate of the
Treasury and Economic Policy and has solicited comment.

2. (U) Combating piracy and intellectual property theft has
become an important priority for the French government in

2004. In their 2005 Special 301 submissions, neither the
International Intellectual Property Alliance nor the
International Anticounterfeiting Coalition identifies France
among countries where IPR problems merit USG action. However,
comments were received from the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
association of America (PHRMA) as well as BIO, the
Biotechnologies Industry Organization.

3. (U) In June 2004, the French government launched a major
initiative to fight piracy and counterfeiting, reported
previously. The initiative, which has been well coordinated
with industry, focuses on improved domestic customs
enforcement and increased international cooperation, within
the EU and with third countries. The plan, unveiled by
then-Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy (and dubbed the
"Sarkozy" plan), involves a major public awareness campaign
as well. Key industry associations have lined up publicly
with the government and offered advice and support.

4. (U) Piracy and Counterfeiting: Stepped-up customs training
and enforcement at airports and borders have resulted in both
higher seizures of counterfeit goods, and resulted in a
higher profile for the government in fighting this issue.
The French government has made highly visible efforts on
France's land border with Italy, near the Italian coast town
of Ventimiglia, which the GOF claims is a distribution center
for pirate goods imported from China. The GOF has pressed
this issue with Italian counterparts in bilateral meetings.
Officials at Charles de Gaulle airport have also seen higher
cargo seizures in 2004 including pirate pharmaceuticals as
well as apparel, media and jewelry.

5. (U) Fighting increased Internet piracy has been
industry's main focus in 2004, though success has been
difficult to assess. The GOF is establishing an
"observatory" to assess benchmarks and statistical progress
this year. Nevertheless, piracy continues to expand at
alarming rates, as a result of increased broadband
penetration and the growing popularity of peer-to-peer file
sharing. In 2004, the industry association ALPA (Association
de Lutte Contre la Piratie Audiovisuelle -- Association for
Combat Against Audiovisual Piracy) reported increased police
actions against operators of Internet sites, creators of
Internet portals enabling illegal downloads and other types
of piracy involving movie file-sharing. The industry works
closely with the U.S. Motion Picture Association. This
year's efforts have been helped by a closer working
relationship with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

6. (SBU) GOF Commitment: After unsuccessfully raising the IPR
issue at the G-8 Sea Island summit in early 2004, the French
government launched a national plan against piracy and
counterfeiting in June of that year. The effort and
publicity given to the French government's initiative in 2004
and 2005 demonstrates the government's commitment to trying
to resolve or stem the damages resulting from these problems.
The GOF and their multipliers have waged a professional
public campaign, citing revenue (and tax) loss, public safety
concerns, respect of cultural heritage, and rule of law as
key elements, with school age and college age segments
targeted. Within the European Union, GOF officials say they
believe France provides leadership on this issue. GOF
officials note that neighbors, such as Italy are not as
forward-leaning on antipiracy issues.

7. (U) While France's traditional luxury good companies such
as the LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet-Hennessey) Group have been
the most visibly affected by piracy, French officials point
to other sectors as well, including pharmaceuticals and
automobile parts. French officials are equally concerned
about counterfeiting of French trademarked products such as
apparel, alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, jewelry, perfume,
shampoo, sunglasses, purses, toiletries and watches. The
French have expressed an interest in cooperating with other
countries regarding piracy in third countries, such as China
and Thailand.

8. (U) EU Biotechnology Directive: the Special 301 submission
of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) addressed to
USTR expresses concern about France and eight other EU member
states which have not yet transposed the Biotechnology
Directive (98//44/EC) into national law. Transposition of
this directive was stopped in 2001 when parliamentary debate
broke down over Articles 5 and 6, involving ethical aspects
of human cloning. The Government has begun consideration of
a revision of the 1994 bioethics law forbidding human
cloning. Government officials expect the Parliament to
address the transposition of the directive in late 2005.