WIPO 24th Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights Debates
The 24th Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights is currently underway at WIPO, which has posted meeting documents here, and a live webcast here. Last week’s discussions featured the debate over the treaty for limitations and exceptions for people with disabilities, and limitations and exceptions for education uses. KEI has a collection of videos on the treaty for people with disabilities here and a quick update on the negotiations here. A joint statement by civil society groups on limitations and exceptions for education is here. This week, delegates are debating a possible treaty for broadcasters, which many civil society groups oppose as unnecessary – see for instance, CIS-India’s statement on the broadcasting treaty.
USTR Seeks Comments on Mexico and Canada’s Entry into the TPP
The U.S. Trade Representative has announced that it is seeking public comments in written form “on all elements related to Canada’s [and Mexcio's] participation in the TPP negotiations in order to develop U.S. negotiating positions.” It will also hold public hearings on the entry of these countries into the negotiations. The deadline for written comments and requests to testify at the hearings is September 4. The hearing regarding Mexico’s entry into the TPP will be held on September 21. The hearing regarding Canada’s entry into the TPP will be on September 24. Click here for more.
USTR Blog on IPR and Access to Medicine in the TPP Does Not Address the Provisions that Block Generic Competition
In advance of the XIX International AIDS Conference, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk wrote a blog about the Trans Pacific Partnership and access to medicines. He stresses that his office has received input on IPR issues from “all sides of the issue” and is working to find a balance between protecting IPR and ensuring access to medicines. Without discussing the provisions in the TPP that will delay generic competition (for instance, requiring second use patents, data exclusivity, and linkage), Kirk reasserts USTR’s support for the Doha Declaration. Click here for more.
International HIV/AIDS Conference Opens in Washington DC
Washington DC is hosting the XIX International AIDS Conference from July 22-27. The conference webpage with the full schedule and registration information is available at aids2012.org. Events at the conference related to intellectual property and access to medicines will include:
- Intellectual Property: For Us or Against Us?
- Improving Access and Innovation in HIV Treatment: The Medicines Patent Pool and Other Approaches
- The Future of Affordable ART: Trends in Patents and Price
- Overcoming Intellectual Property Barriers to Enable Access to Affordable Antiretrovials: Pricing and Patent Toolkits and Sharing of Successful Strategies from Brazil, India and South Africa
- Public Health-Oriented Management of Intellectual Property Rights: Overcoming Barriers to Access for Second Line ARV Drugs
Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Act of 2012 Introduced, Aims to Protect Flexible IP Policies that Promote Access to Medicines
Last week, Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced the Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic Act of 2012 (HR 6138). One section of the bill aims to protecting the use of flexible intellectual property policies for the purpose of enhancing access to medicines in low and middle income countries, by preventing the U.S. government from using trade policy to attack them. Click here for more.
European Commission Announces Open Access Policy for Publicly Funded Research
The European Commission has announced a new policy that will require open access to articles funded through its “Horizon 2020″ program, an €80 billion initiative to drive research, innovation and competitiveness throughout the continent. The policy recommends that Member states consider their own open access policies for government funded research, and sets a goal of having 60% of publicly funded research articles available under open access by 2016. Additionally, the Commission will fund further research into projects related to open access and swill spend €45 million on data infrastructure and digital preservation. Click here for more.
Creative Commons Announces Winners of the ‘Why Open Education Matters’ Video Competition
[post by Timothy Vollmer from the Creative Commons blog] Creative Commons, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Open Society Foundations are pleased to announce the winners of the Why Open Education Matters video competition. The competition was launched in March 2012 to solicit creative videos that clearly communicate the use and potential of free, high-quality Open Educational Resources — or “OER” — and describe the benefits and opportunities these materials create for teachers, students, and schools everywhere. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the competition with a video on the Why Open Education Matters website. The competition received over 60 qualified entries. Click here for the full blog (and winning videos) at creativecommons.org.
BNA Reports Two Stories on Copyright Collection Agencies in Europe
In Germany, nightclubs will face higher royalty payments when a new policy by the collecting society Gesellschaft für Musikalische Aufführung (GEMA) takes effect on January 1. The new fees will be based on the size of the venue and the price of admission, but not on the attendance of events. Some estimate that the new fees could amount to five to ten times the current fees. In Spain, the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers (SGAE) has been fined nearly €1.8 million for abuse of its dominant position. The competition authority found that it abused its position as the only collection society in Spain in “discriminatory and non-transparent application of discounts” and also through a “so-called replacement fee, which is unfair and discriminatory.” Click here for more.
Thai Civil Society Groups Oppose Patent Application for HIV/AIDS Treatment
A coalition of Thai civil society groups has written a letter opposing Gilead’s patents for the fixed-dose combination of AVR tenofovir and emtricitaine (TDF+FTC, sold under the brand name Truvada), an important first-line therapy for the treatment of HIV/AIDS. The letter opposes the granting of the patent because it would not meet the criteria for patentability found in the Thai Patent Act, novelty, inventive step, and capability of industrial application. Says the letter “TDF is not a newly invented drug… and its combination requires no high technology to prove significant inventive steps.” Click here for more.