Thursday, November 16, 2006


Anybody remember The Mouse That Roared? This is a look at a possible course of action for Antigua that may force a response.

Excerpt from: Rolling the Dice-The United States' big legal gamble with Internet gaming.
By Henry Lanman

The obvious question is what Antigua can do with a victory at the WTO. Retaliatory tariffs plainly aren't particularly appealing for small country like Antigua, because they would certainly hurt more than they would help. But the plucky little island paradise does have some creative options at its disposal. If the United States remains recalcitrant, under the WTO rules, Antigua would potentially have the right to suspend its own compliance with the treaty that obligates it to respect the United States' intellectual-property laws. That, one can well imagine, might get Washington's attention.

Want a cheap copy of Microsoft's latest software or a nice medical device that, annoyingly, is protected by a U.S. patent? Come to Antigua. In such a scenario, Antigua couldn't simply be ostracized as a rogue state. It would have every right under WTO rules to pursue such a course. In fact, Antigua could go down this road only in response to the United States' continuing refusal to honor its international obligations. While there undoubtedly would be complicated issues and restrictions on the scope of any suspension the WTO approves, the United States shouldn't assume that the world body is too timid to hand Antigua this sort of stick with which to retaliate, since it has authorized intellectual-property-based reprisal before. Antigua's frank calculation here, of course, is that while the administration might be comfortable stiffing the Antiguan trade representative, it would probably take notice if, say, an irate Microsoft or Disney started insisting that it get this problem solved.

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