Infojustice Roundup
Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

Call for Participation:  2012 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

The Second Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest will be held December 15-17, 2012 at FGV Law School in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.  The theme for this year’s Congress will be “Setting the positive agenda in motion.” The first Global Congress was convened last year to define a positive agenda for policy reform, build a global network of scholars and advocates to promote the agenda and provide opportunities for the sharing of research and strategies.  Participants deliberated to produce the Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest — an action agenda for promoting the public interest in intellectual property and information law reform around the world. Sixteen months later, we will come together to measure our progress and expand the positive agenda. To this end, we invite applications to attend the Congress and contribute to its deliberations identifying forums where policy is being developed, proposing policies or actions that promote public interest goals and principles, and identifying and planning to respond to research and analysis needs. Click here for more.

PIJIP Res. Paper: Beyond the Unrealistic Solution for Development Provided by the Appendix of the Berne Convention on Copyright

Author: Aberto Cerda Silva  Abstract: The standards of copyright protection promoted by the Berne Convention are highly problematic for developing countries because these countries need to ensure a wide dissemination of works for teaching, scholarship, and research purposes. In order to accommodate these needs and to promote accession to this Convention, the 1971 Paris Act of the Berne Convention, included an Appendix that allowed developing countries to issue compulsory licenses for translating and/or reproducing foreign works into languages of general use in their territories. Unfortunately, the Appendix has not met the needs of developing countries, which, instead, have relied on idiosyncratic solutions. Additionally, the instrument does not provide solutions for other needs, such as those of linguistic and cultural minorities, and it is arguable whether the Appendix applies online. Click here for more.

Analysis of China’s Copyright Reform by Hong Xue – A User-Unfriendly Draft

[by Hong Xue] Chinese Copyright Law, in its 21-year history, has only been revised twice, in 2001 and 2010 respectively. From its initial enactment to two revisions, foreign trade had always been an important consideration. In 1980s, several rounds of Sino-US intellectual property negotiation in the ambit of bilateral trade negotiation was the pushing force for the promulgation of the Copyright Law in 1990. In 2001, the Copyright Law was completely revised to be complied with the TRIPS Agreement before China’s accession to the WTO. In 2010, the Copyright Law was revised for the 2nd time to be complied with the WTO DSB Panel Report regarding US-China intellectual property dispute. Since the 2nd revision merely covered the limited provisions addressed in the WTO dispute, 2001 Copyright Law was largely kept intact. Click here for more.

Colombian Court: Abbott Labs’ AIDS Drug Pricing Abuse Violated Health Rights

[by Peter Maybarduk] A Colombian administrative judge has ruled that Abbott Laboratories and the Ministry of Health threatened and violated collective rights to public health by maintaining the price of an HIV medicine above the reference price, flouting a government order. The court’s decision is a groundbreaking condemnation of Big Pharma pricing abuses and a precedent for health rights in Colombia. The decision arises from a lawsuit filed by health groups seeking a compulsory license on lopinavir + ritonavir (LPV/r), marketed by Abbott as Kaletra and Aluvia. A compulsory license would introduce cost-cutting generic competition with Abbott’s patent-based monopoly. Click here for more.

Paper by Christphe Geiger: ACTA and Criminal Enforcement of Intellectual Property – What Consequences for the European Union?

Abstract:  The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the secrecy of its negotiation process have given rise to widespread speculation on the content and the objectives of the Agreement, leading to the development of considerable mistrust among the general public. This article concentrates on one of the most problematic aspects of the Agreement: the provisions on criminal enforcement. It will first show why criminal enforcement of intellectual property is generally a problematic issue, especially in the European Union, and then briefly try to demonstrate why ACTA is not the right answer in this regard, since criminal enforcement provisions clearly need a differentiated approach, an approach which is not reflected in the Agreement. Click here for more.

Paper by Margot Kaminski: The USTR’s Democracy Problem

Abstract: This paper explores why the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) seems so shocked by current demands for what seem like basic democratic elements of transparency and public involvement. I summarize the current state of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and what it contains. ACTA is part of a larger trend of international lawmaking in the United States, a shift from Article II treaties to executive agreements. ACTA is also part of a longstanding trend of coziness between industry groups and government representatives within IP policy-making. Trade negotiations made through the executive branch are particularly subject to industry capture, and that industry capture is particularly problematic when it is located in an agency of the government that does not envision itself as publicly accountable. Click here for more.

Department of Commerce Seeks Comments on “Feasibility of Placing Economically Significant Patents Under a Secrecy Order”

[Federal Register, vol 77, no. 77]: Pursuant to a request from Congress, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking comments as to whether the United States should identify and bar from publication and issuance certain patent applications as detrimental to the nation’s economic security. The USPTO is also seeking comments on the desirability of changes to the existing procedures for reviewing applications that might be detrimental to national security. Those wishing to submit written comments should submit those comments for consideration by June 19, 2012. Click here for more.

House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on International Patent Issues

On April 26, the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “International Patent Issues: Promoting a Level Playing Field for American Industry Abroad.”  Witnesses from industry and academia participated, and each listed what they consider to be the largest threats to firms relying on IP in international markets. All of the witnesses presented an IP-maximalist view.  For instance, they each warned that the way compulsory licenses have been used in middle income countries is problematic.  Click here for more