Infojustice Roundup

Canada and Mexico Invited to Join the TPP Negotiations with Conditions; Obligations Conflict with Canadian Copyright Legislation

Last week, Canada and Mexico were both invited to join the negotiations, under the condition that they accept all of the provisions already in place by the time they formally join the negotiations later this year.  (USTR cannot begin formal negotiations with Mexico and Canada until the end of a 90 consultation period, during which time it will solicit public input).   Prof. Michael Geist noted in a blog last week that much of the copyright legislation recently passed by the Canadian legislature would conflict with likely TPP obligations: “the leaked TPP draft requires an extension of the term of copyright, new statutory damages provisions that would undo the C-11 approach, even tougher digital lock rules than those found in the bill, and new Internet provider liability provisions.” Click here for more.

Fifth European Parliament Committee Votes to Reject ACTA – Full Parliament Votes Wednesday

On June 21, the EP Committee on International Trade (INTA) voted to 19-12 to recommend that the full Parliament reject ACTA.  It formally adopted David Martin’s draft report on the agreement, which advises the Parliament to decline to give its consent to ACTA, noting that “intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties. Given the vagueness of certain aspects of the text and the uncertainty intended benefits of this international agreement are far outweighed by the potential threats to civil liberties.” The full Parliament votes on ACTA on July 3. Click here for more.

EFF Launches Project to Change the Law of Software Patents

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched, a project aimed at promoting seven specific reforms to the patent system: “1) A patent covering software should be shorter – no more than five years from the application date; 2) If the patent is invalid or there’s no infringement, the trolls should have to pay the legal fees; 3) Patent applicants should be required to provide an example of running software code for each claim in the patent; 4) Infringers should avoid liability if they independently arrive at the patented invention; 5) Patents and licenses should be public right away. Patent owners should be required to keep their public records up-to-date; 6) The law should limit damages so that a patent owner can’t collect millions if the patent represented only a tiny fraction of a defendant’s product; 7) Congress should commission a study and hold hearings to examine whether software patents actually benefit our economy at all.” For more, see

CCIA Study Shows European Court Rulings Leading to Greater ISP Liability Had a Negative Effect on Venture Capital Funding of New Companies

Last week, the Computer and Communications Industry Association published “The Impact of Copyright Policy Changes in France and Germany on Venture Capital Investment in Cloud Computing Companies,” by Josh Lerner. The report finds that investment by venture capital firms in these two markets declined after court decisions that imposed copyright liability on companies providing online services: “Our results suggest that these rulings led to an average reduction in VC investment in French and German cloud computing firms of …  of $87 million after these rulings through the end of 2010. When paired with the findings of the enhanced effects of VC investment relative to corporate investment, this may be  the equivalent of $269.7 million in traditional R&D investment.”  Therefore, “decisions around copyright scope can have significant impacts on investment and innovation.” Click here for the report.

BIO Study on the Link between IPRs and Innovation

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has released a new study that explores the link between intellectual property and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).  “Taking Stock: How Global Biotechnology Benefits from Intellectual Property Rights” argues that stronger intellectual property protection has helped attract investment into middle income countries since 1980. It does not describe other economic changes that have occurred in emerging markets in the past three decades that could influence foreign investment. The study does not address the effect of TRIPS-Plus intellectual Property provisions such as data exclusivity, linkage, or the patenting second uses of known subject matter – despite BIO’s lobbying for these provisions in the Trans Pacific Partnership and through the Special 301 process. Click here for more.