European academics circulate sign-on statement of opinion on ACTA

A group of prominent European academics coordinated by Rita Matulionyte  and Axel Metzger from the Leibniz University in Hanover has released an opinion on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).  The opinion shows how ACTA clashes both with EU policy and with the enforcement provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.  The drafting committee invites European and national institutions to carefully consider the opinion before ratifying the Agreement or withholding consent.  The document is open for signatures until February 7, 2011. Click here for more.

Publishers cut off researchers’ free access to medical journals in poor countries

Large publishers are starting to pull out of the Health InterNetwork for Access to Research Initiative (HINARI), a system for providing free journals to low income countries established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2001. Earlier this month, researchers in Bangladesh received notice that they would no longer receive access to journals published by Elsevier, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, and Springer through the program.  WHO has since revealed that 28 other Least Developed Countries will lose access to free journals through the HINARI.  Click here for more.

Brazilian Ministry of Culture removes Creative Commons licenses from its website

Since 2003, the Brazilian Ministry of Culture website’s content has been posted under a Creative Commons license, but the Ministry has removed the Creative Commons logo from its website.  The removal occurred shortly after the publication of an open letter asking for the continuation of copyright reforms that were adopted or were under discussion during the government of Lula, and which would have expanded limitations and exceptions to copyright.  Therefore, the removal has been interpreted by the Brazilian civil society as a sign of the inflexibility of Minister Ana de Hollanda, who opposes the reforms. Click here for more.

U.S. state legislators call for halt of trade restrictions on pharmaceutical pricing

On Friday, an organization of state legislators passed a resolution calling on the U.S. to halt the use of trade agreements to enact international disciplines on pharmaceutical pricing programs. The resolution specifically targets the ongoing negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a plurilateral trade agreement among eight nations. To date, no negotiating text has been publicly released. But the branded drug lobby has requested the inclusion of a chapter in the agreement that would require countries to “appropriately recognize the value of patented medicines” when determining reimbursement levels for medicines purchased in the public health sector. Click here for more.

Notes from the State of the Net Conference

On January 18, the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Congressional Internet Caucus held the Seventh Annual  State of the Net Conference to discuss current issues and upcoming legislation in 2011. The Director of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement described Operation In Our Sites, which targeted infringing sites, and Members of Congress discussed strengthening domestic and international IP protection, and a panel discussed the feasibility and wisdom of enforcement measures in COICA.  Many of the keynote speeches are available online.  Click here for more.

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health enters Kenyan legal challenge to anticounterfeiting bill

The East African Standard has reported that Anand Grover, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Anand Grover will “intervene as an interested party to support the constitutional principles of access to essential medicines” in a court case against the Kenyan Anti-Counterfeiting bill.  Health advocates have warned that the bill contains loose definitions of “counterfeit” that will allow patent owning firms to block legitimate generic medicines.  Click here for more.

Upcoming events and submission deadlines

On February 2-3, the Sixth Global Congress Combating Piracy will take place in Paris, co-hosted by WIPO and INPI, in partnership with Interpol, the World Customs Organization, BASCAP, and the International Trade Mark Association.  February 15 is the deadline for submitting comments to the US Trade Representative for the 2011 Special 301 Report, and for submitting comments on ACTA. The WTO TRIPS Council will meet on March 1-2.

Thiru Balasubamaniam from KEI has posted key dates for upcoming WHO, WIPO and WTO meetings on intellectual property.  WIPO has also published a list of its Conferences, Meetings and Seminars to be held in the first half of 2011.  For future reference, PIJIP is creating an ongoing list of upcoming events and submission deadlines which will be available here.

Contributors: Mike Palmedo, Marilia Maciel.