In a surprising move, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has placed Switzerland on its list of countries that haven't been cooperating enough on intellectual property enforcement.
The USTR publishes its Special 301 Report annually to identify countries that are known to be piracy hotspots. The usual suspects listed are countries like China, Russia and the Ukraine, but this year's 301 report also includes an unlikely Western ally - Switzerland.
The listing largely relates to a Swiss court decision in 2010, one that classified IP addresses as private data. This effectively prevented many anti-piracy investigations, especially pertaining to file sharing usage.
"Six years have elapsed since the issuance of a decision by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, which has been implemented to essentially deprive copyright holders in Switzerland of the means to enforce their rights against online infringers; enforcement is a critical element of providing meaningful IPR protection," the USTR's report reads.
It's this decision that the USTR says makes Switzerland an uncooperative jurisdiction when it comes to copyright issues, and it's hoping the addition of the country to the U.S. watch list will be enough to force the independent nation to toughen up its copyright laws.
This isn't the first time the USTR has tried using its Special 301 Report to name and shame other independent nations into action. Neighbors Canada was added to the same list a few years ago, and despite the country implementing a tough notice based anti-piracy law last year, it wasn't enough for it to escape the USTR's attentions in this latest report.
"The United States continues to urge Canada to fully implement its commitments pursuant to the WIPO Internet Treaties and to continue to address the challenges of copyright piracy in the digital age," cited the report.