IP Enforcement Roundup

Senator Leahy Introduces the PROTECT-IP Act

Sen. Leahy introduced the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property  (PROTECT-IP) Act  on May 12, designed to combat websites “dedicated to infringing activities.”  The legislation (S. 968) is cosponsored by Sens. Schumer, Feinstein, Whitehouse, Graham, Kohl, Coons, and Blumenthal.  According to the official summary, the legislation would allow the Justice Department obtain court orders against these sites and require third parties to “either prevent access to the internet site (in the case of an internet service provider or search engine), or cease doing business with the internet site (in the case of a payment processor or advertising network).”  Unlike last year’s Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act, private IP owners can bring similar actions against payment processors and advertisers.  The PROTECT-IP Act also contains a safe harbor for firms that take voluntary actions against sites selling illegitimate pharmaceuticals online.  Click here for more.

Senator Klobuchar Introduces Anti-Streaming Legislation

Another piece of legislation introduced on May 12 by Sen. Klobachar would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted materials a felony.  This was one of the legislative recommendations made in the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s report to Congress in February.  The legislation has not yet been placed online, but a coalition of the MPAA, the Independent Film and Television Alliance and the National Association of Theatre Owners issued a press release supporting it.  Click here for more.

Leaked cables show U.S. tried, failed to organize against Ecuador compulsory licensing

A blog by Peter Maybarduk from Public Citizen describes wikileaks cables showing that the U.S. Embassy in Quito tried to dissuade the Ecuadorian government from issuing a compulsory license on the antiretroviral drug ritonavir.  The U.S. Ambassador warned Ecuadorian officials that the compulsory license could “could jeopardize Ecuador’s eligibility” for trade preference programs, and embassy staff worked with “well-placed contacts” in “potentially sympathetic ministries” to try to block the license.  The original cables (which Maybarduk warns “include some misinterpretations of law, precedent, and Ecuador’s licensing protocol”) are included in the post.  Click here for more.

World Health Assembly to Debate the World Health Organization’s Role in Combating “Substandard/Spurious/Falsely-Labeled/Falsified/Counterfeit Medical Products”

The World Health Assembly opens today, bringing together all of the WHO member countries for their annual meeting.  The agenda includes a session on WHO’s work concerning substandard medical products, including “information and awareness creation,” “norms and standards” and technical support to countries.  It will also debate the controversial relationship between WHO and the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT).  Click here for more.

European Union DG Trade Hearing on “Protection and enforcement of IPR in third countries”

The EC Directorate General for Trade is reviewing its strategy for increasing IPRs abroad, and it plans to update its current policy with “the adoption of a new Commission Communication by the end of 2011.”  As part of its review, it held an open hearing on May 10.  Health Action International testified, urging the EC “to use caution in exporting their acquis on enforcement to third countries” and “not to require other countries to adhere to ACTA through for example bilateral trade agreements.”   Click here for more.