Compiled By Jill Jusko Lack of intellectual property protection continues to be a global problem, says the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Washington, D.C., in its "Special 301" annual report, released last week. "Rampant" piracy and poor enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) are problems in Russia, Taiwan, Poland and Brazil among U.S. trading partners, the report says. On the other hand, improved protection was noted in Egypt, Colombia and Hungary due to their ongoing implementation of the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. And Israel is among the countries investing in education, police and the judicial resources required to protect U.S. rights, the report says. "Open markets and rules that guarantee the protection of intellectual property are critical to the continued health of the creative sectors of our economy," says U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick. "While we are heartened that many countries now have the necessary legislation is place that recognizes intellectual property rights, it is important that these laws be enforced." This year's "Special 301" report lists 50 countries that provide the poorest levels of IPR protection. The full report is available at www.ustr.gov/reports/2003/special301.htm.