The long awaited WTO report ruling on the Saudi Arabia’s protection of intellectual property rights was finally published this afternoon.
In something of a turn up for the books, the report made no reference to Newcastle, the Premier League or the Public Investment Fund – which can only be good news for us.
While there is good news, the report also didn’t exactly let the Saudis off scot free. The WTO say there are individuals within the Saudi jurisdiction complicit in the piracy and that the Saudis actively prevented Bein from hiring lawyers to stop the piracy.
Read the fill WTO report here.
Despite that, the WTO report does not show any links between the Saudi government and BeoutQ – the organisation liable for the piracy. It also shows no links between the Saudi government and piracy.
For a proper assessment from someone who knows what they’re talking about, barrister Rhys Josser tweeted out some thoughts earlier:
Drop in and give Rhys a follow – he’s been brilliant for proper legal updates on this whole situation.
All-in-all, the report does not exonerate Saudi Arabia of any wrongdoing – but it does mean that if the Premier League reject the takeover, they’ll be doing it without a legal reason to do so – meaning they’ll likely be hit with a monumental legal battle.
The Saudi Arabians are insisting the WTO report clears them. They released a statement which states:
“Saudi Arabia has a strong record of protecting intellectual property and is committed to applying its national law and procedures in full conformity with WTO rules.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will spare no effort to overcome the threats of terrorism and extremism, and Saudi Arabia is pleased that the Panel recognized its sovereign rights in this regard.”
For now, we just need to be patient and await some sort of statement from the Premier League with regards to what they choose to do with the information in the WTO report.
My personal opinion is that there is not enough here to warrant actually blocking the takeover based off this alone, but you just never know. Let’s just see how this plays out…