On Tuesday, July 25, Chief TPP negotiator Barbara Weisel briefed civil society on the state of the negotiations. The briefing covered all areas of the negotiations (not just IPR). Weisel told the civil society audience that negotiators made progress in many areas at the San Diego round, but intellectual property and ecommerce were two areas where they “still have a way to go.”
In the coming months, trade officials will hold side meetings at the ASEAN conference, followed by the APEC conference. Also USTR’s intellectual property negotiators will travel to Malaysia and other countries to discuss intellectual property and health. Weisel said that these types of intercessional bilateral meetings are a helpful way to move forward on tough issues, and that USTR also wants to talk with American civil society on this topic.
The next full negotiating round will be held September 6-15 in Leesburg, VA. The following full round will be held in December. The location of the December round is yet to be determined, but it will be outside of the United States.
The intellectual property negotiations at the next round will likely cover the same topics as the last round – general provisions and copyright. If possible, they may also move into trademarks and geographical indications. It is not likely they will discuss patents.
Weisel said that USTR has not received comments from the other governments about the text on limitations and exceptions to copyright USTR tabled in San Diego. She expects positive feedback. The text was designed to give countries maximum latitude in how the limitations and exceptions are implemented – to allow countries to implement U.S.-type limitations and exceptions without dictating local law.
Mexico and Canada will not participate in the Leesburg round of talks. The 90 consultation period will still be in effect. Weisel noted that USTR released a federal register notice seeking comments on the addition of these two countries to the negotiations, and announcing the public hearings to be held September 21 and 24.