U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement: Intellectual Property Provisions for the Modern Age

On October 1, 2018, the United States, Canada, and Mexico announced that they had reached an agreement to modernize” the 24-year old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). When NAFTA came into effect, it created the largest free trade region in the world. Since then, developments in virtually every sector and the advent of cross-border issues such as digital trade, financial data storage, and unfair currency practices have created room for improvement.

The intellectual property (IP) chapter of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), in particular, reflects significant updates. While NAFTA included IP provisions – and was, in fact, the first trade agreement to do so – the USMCA reflects a more comprehensive approach to ensuring the United States’ most important trading partners respect and enforce IP rights at a high level.

The IP chapter of the USMCA is largely aligned with the IP terms agreed to by the United States, Canada, and Mexico in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations in 2016. Although the United States withdrew from the TPP, Canada, Mexico, and the 9 other remaining TPP countries ultimately adopted a modified version of that agreement, called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), in March 2018. The USMCA builds on the updated terms reached by the United States, Canada, and Mexico as part of the TPP negotiations and final CPTPP agreement. Read More...