Infojustice Roundup

Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

Federal Research Public Access Act attracts two dozen additional co-sponsors

Twenty four additional Representatives have cosponsored the Federal Research Public Access Act, (FPRAA, H.R.4004), introduced by Rep. Doyle on February 9.  The bill would require Federal Agencies to collect digital copies of peer-reviewed journal articles that result from research supported by their grants, to create and maintain a stable digital repository containing the articles, to make them publicly accessible online, and to produce an online bibliography of all the publicly accessible papers. Companion legislation in the Senate, S.2096, was introduced by Sen. Cornyn and cosponsored by Sen. Hutchison and Sen. Wyden. Click here for more.

Colombian government attempts to implement copyright reform in three weeks

By Carolina Botero, March 22: Yesterday, the Colombian Executive introduced a draft law it says is required to implement its obligations under the Colombia-US Free Trade Agreement. The Congress has been called upon to do the necessary paperwork in three weeks to have the law in place before President Obama visits Cartagena in mid-April. …the Executive wants the Congress to adopt their draft bill proposal implementing the FTA word by word. We as civil society have warned that “the devil is in the details.”  …the Government has chosen to avoid any public discussion that might force them to do a complete reform of the outdated Colombian copyright regime, especially regarding exceptions and limitations. Such reform ought to be openly discussed within our society, and with data on the current situation of the country.  Click here for more. [Also, see the  open letter to the Colombian Congress]

Wyden offers amendments on ACTA and TP

Sen. Wyden proposed two amendments relating to IP and trade policy to the Jumpstarting Our Business Sector Act (JOBS Act).  The first states that “the President may not accept, or provide for the entry into force with respect to the United States of, any legally binding trade agreement that imposes obligations on the United States with respect to the enforcement of intellectual property rights, including the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, without the formal and express approval of Congress.” The second requires USTR to post on its website within 30 days every document tabled in previous negotiations that describes “a position of, or proposal made by, the United States with respect to intellectual property, the Internet, or entities that use the Internet, including electronic commerce.”  Going forward, USTR would be required to post these documents online within 24 hours of their being shared with negotiating partners. Click here for more.

ACTA debate continues in European Parliament

Today, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs held a debate on ACTA.  Tomorrow, the debate will move to the Committee on International Trade. In advance of the hearings, civil society groups wrote Parliament, warning that the upcoming European Court of Justice review will not address the conflict between ACTA and fundamental rights.  Click here for more.

Indian high court to hear arguments in Novartis case

On Wednesday, the Indian Supreme Court will hear arguments in Novartis’ challenge to India’s patent law.  In 2006, the Indian Patent Office rejected Novartis’ patent application for the cancer drug Glivec (imatinib mesylate), saying that the drug was a new salt formulation of a known drug, and therefore unpatentable under Indian Law.  Section 3(d) of the Indian Patents Act specifies that patents cannot be granted for “the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance…”  Novartis has asked that court to endorse a broad interpretation of the word “efficacy” that would include its product.  Public health NGOs have warned that the Indian generic industry – which provides the vast majority of medicines taken by people in the developing world, including antiretrovirals for HIV/AIDS – relies on the flexibility of Indian patent law.   Click here for more.

GTPI supports judicial decision annulling the patent for a HIV/AIDS medicine

Statement of the Grupo de Trabalho Sobre Propriedade Intelectual on the Brazlian government’s decision to annul Abbott Laboratories’ patent on lopinavir+ritonavir, an important antiretroviral medicine for the treatment of HIV/AIDS: “ …GTPI welcomes the decision of the Judge since it converges with several actions taken by the group in recent years to put an end to undue monopolies assaulting the public resources and harming people who need essential medicines. In relation to the drug lop/r, GTPI has: denounced abuses in the contract negotiated between the Brazilian government and Abbott in 2005; filed a public civil action for the government to issue a compulsory license, allowing the purchase and production of generic versions; and actively avoiding monopoly extension through oppositions to patent applications filed by the Abbott. In addition, a debate that GTPI has taken to the Brazilian Supreme Court, regarding the unconstitutionality of ‘pipeline’ patents, was considered in the judge’s decision, as an argument for the annulment of the patent.” Click here for more.

Infojustice Blog Series on Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright by Country

Last December, participants at a meeting on Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright hosted by IViR and PIJIP were asked to answer three questions relating to copyright law in their country. We are publishing their answers as a series of blogs. The first entry is posted: Copyright Flexibilities in South Africa, by Andrew Rens and Caroline Ncube.