Pakistan to Establish Intellectual Property Tribunals

[Hafiz Aziz ur Rehman] Pakistan is almost set to establish specialized Intellectual Property Tribunals which would exercise exclusive jurisdiction on intellectual property cases (patents, copyright, trademark, designs, Integrated Circuits and selected sections of Pakistan Penal Code dealing with trademark and counterfeiting). It means that when these tribunals become functional, all cases related to relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code will eventually transfer to the tribunals. It is important to note that under the WTO-TRIPS Agreement, Pakistan has no obligation to establish specialized IP courts and several developing countries (including India) do not have dedicated intellectual property courts. Click here for more.

Presidential Decree in Costa Rica Protects the Photocopying of Textbooks by Commercial Copy Shops

President Chinchilla of Costa Rica has signed a decree to protect photocopying of textbooks. The decree clarifies an exception in Law 8,039, recently passed to bring the nation into compliance with the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which includes criminal sanctions for IP crimes.  Law 8,309 also includes an exception for copying for academic uses, but student groups had raised concern that the exception would not apply to the for-profit copy shops that surround most universities – where most students buy low priced copies of texts.  Click here for more.

WTO Trade Policy Review of Israel Discusses Fair Use in Copyright Act of 2007

[Thiru Balasubramaniam] The World Trade Organization (WTO) held its fourth review of Israel’s trade policies and practices on 30 October 2012 and 1 November 2012… The Secretariat report notes that another “significant development in Israeli intellectual property law is the introduction of the new Copyright Act 2007[56] which, inter alia, replaces the doctrine of fair dealing with that of fair use, thus providing a more flexible approach to copyright exceptions”. The report describes the “fair dealing” approach as relatively restrictive in contrast to the “more flexible and open-ended approach” of fair use…  The report clarifies that while “fair use is considered, exemption, or privilege under U.S. Copyright law”, the manner in which the 2007 Act is drafted “could support the interpretation that fair use is a permitted use and not merely a defence” with some arguing that “permitted uses should constitute ‘user rights'”. Click here for more.

Open Access in Africa – Green and Gold, the Impact Factor, ‘Mainstream’ and ‘Local’ Research

[Eve Gray] I have been following the debate raging in the UK and beyond about whether the Finch Commission and the Research Councils UK – and then the EC with a slightly different emphasis – were right in opting for support for the ‘gold route’ of open access publishing rather than prioritizing only the ‘green route’ of open access repositories. There seems to have been a general consensus in the commentaries that I have read that this will disadvantage the developing world, which will be faced with the barrier of high article processing fees and become increasingly excluded. The green route, through continuing creation of institutional repositories, would be better for us, we are told. I don’t agree. The reasons are complex, but at heart this takes us back to the question of whether we are seeking access to or participation in the production of global literature. Which policy path would most effectively give voice to research from Africa, largely silenced in the current system? Access to world literature is also important, but is inadequate on its own, risking perpetuating a neo-colonial dispensation that casts the dominant North as the producer and the developing world as the consumer of knowledge. Click here for more.

Indonesian Compulsory Licenses Show Values of Pro-Access TRIPS-Flexibility Terms in Voluntary Licenses

[Brook Baker] It is a tremendous victory for people living with HIV in Indonesia that it has issued new compulsory licenses on seven anti-retroviral medicines, allowing the government to access generic versions of those medicines – domestically or by importation – at much cheaper prices.  … A little discussed aspect of the government’s compulsory license is that certain Indian generic producers will be able to supply Indonesia’s purchase of Gilead’s tenofovir + emtricitabiine and tenofovir + emtricitabine + efavirenz because of smart provisions in the Medicine Patent Pool’s voluntary license with Gilead. Click here for more.

Could Pirate Romney Win/Have Won?

[Joe Karaganis] With the election around the corner, polls tied, and a slow news week in the US, it’s time to ask the question that’s on everyone’s mind: could Mitt Romney win with some strategic repositioning on copyright policy?  Could the answer be to embrace pirate Romney?  Let’s explore. What do we know about Romney’s views on intellectual property?  Really just two things.  We know that he joined the roster of anti-SOPA republicans last year when that seemed like the thing to do (“I’m standing for freedom”).  And we know that he worries about China stealing our IP.  And that’s about it.  But it’s more than it seems. Click here for more.

Boldrin and Levine: “The Case Against Patents”

[Excerpt from the full paper by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine] The case against patents can be summarized briefly: there is no empirical evidence that they serve to increase innovation and productivity, unless the latter is identified with the number of patents awarded – which, as evidence shows, has no correlation with measured productivity. This is at the root of the “patent puzzle”: in spite of the enormous increase in the number of patents and in the strength of their legal protection we have neither seen a dramatic acceleration in the rate of technological progress nor a major increase in the levels of R&D expenditure. Click here for more.