U.S. Proposal for the Trans Pacific Partnership Leaked

The leaked IP chapter proposed by the U.S. at the February Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations was circulated last week by Knowledge Ecology International.  The text includes strong enforcement measures including criminal penalties for non-commercial infringement; damages that consider the retail price of the IP-owner’s good; a requirement for ISPs to provide the identification of infringing customers; and a requirement that border guards have ex officio power to seize goods suspected of trademark infringement, including in-transit goods.  Provisions on data exclusivity and linkage have been left blank for now (with placeholder language to be filled in later). The patents section includes stricter patentability standards that would require protections of new uses and new methods of use of existing products. Click here for more.

Senate Finance Committee Hears USTR Testimony on FTAs and IP Enforcement in China

At the March 9 Senate Finance Committee hearing on the President’s Trade Agenda, Senators Baucus and Grassley urged the quick passage of pending FTAs with Korea, Columbia, and Panama, as well as strengthening of IP protection in China.  U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk promised to move forward on the pending FTAs, and called the Trans Pacific Partnership an “especially critical” trade agreement that broadens the scope of trade agreements with “21st century issues.” He described his office’s work to improve IP enforcement as “very productive,” claiming progress in reducing the prevalence of infringing software, and noting China’s agreement to “delink its innovation policy from the provision of government procurement preferences.”  Click here for more.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren Says that ICE Seizures of Domain Names Are Illegal

In an interview with Nate Anderson from ARS Technica, Rep. Zoe Lofgren called the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s takedowns of websites illegal:  “I think that they [ICE] don’t even have the authority to do what they’re doing. Their effort to essentially seize—I think illegally—these domain names lacks due process, in some cases has violated the First Amendment rights of individuals.” She also warned that taking down internet search engines sets a dangerous precedent.  Click here for the story from Ars Technica.

Brazilian Musicians Urge New Way Forward on Copyright for Digital Works

The Professional Musicians Union of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian Association of Independent Music (ABMI), and 130 Brazilian musicians, composers and artists have written the Minister of Culture, urging the government to find a new way out of the copyright reform deadlock.  A new way forward should ensure the payment of creators, but it should not criminalize end user downloading.  Their letter also calls for the creation of a body within the MOC to focus specifically on music. Click here for the full text of the letter (in Portuguese).

Chinese Officials Pledge to Strengthen IP Enforcement

At a news conference held alongside the National People’s Congress, Chinese officials from six agencies reported the results of a campaign to strengthen IP enforcement.  According to a story in the People’s Daily, the campaign was launched at the end of 2010 in advance of President Hu Jinatao’s state visit to the U.S., and it has led to 45,296 investigations of IP infringement, 6,379 of which involve foreign-owned IP. Fu Shuangjian, Vice-Minister of the Administration for Industry and Commerce promised long term efforts to protect IP and fight against “online infringements.” Click here for more.

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