Infojustice Roundup

Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

European Court of Justice: ISPs Cannot Be Forced to Block Infringing Content on P2P Sites

In 2007, Belgian internet service provider Scarlet Extended was ordered to install a filtering system to detect and block the sharing of files that violated copyrights managed by SABAM (a collection society).  The case was appealed to the European Court of Justice, which held that the injunction was incompatible with EU law.  In a press release, the Court said: “EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court which requires an internet service provider to install a filtering system with a view to preventing the illegal downloading of files. Such an injunction does not comply with the prohibition on imposing a general monitoring obligation on such a provider, or with the requirement to strike a fair balance between, on the one hand, the right to intellectual property, and, on the other, the freedom to conduct business, the right to protection of personal data and the freedom to receive or impart information.” Click here for more.

Indian Supreme Court to Hear Arguments In Case Over Section 3(D)

The Indian Supreme Court will hear arguments in Novartis v. Union of India on November 29.  The case centers around Section 3(D) of India’s Patents Act, which prohibits the patenting of a “new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance.”  In 2006, Novartis was denied a patent on the anti-cancer drug imatinib mesylate on the grounds that it was a new form of an existing drug.  The company unsuccessfully challenged the Constitutionality of Section 3(D), and it lost an appeal of denial of its the patent application.  Novartis is now asking the Supreme Court to interpret the definition of “efficacy” in a way that would include increases in bioavailabiliy, rather than the more stringent definition of “therapeutic effect in healing a disease,” which was applied by the Madras High Court.  Click here for more.

SOPA Markup Scheduled for Dec. 15 As Opposition to the Bill Grows

The Stop Online Piracy Act is scheduled for markup in the House Judiciary Committee on December 15.  An aide to Rep. Lamar Smith (sponsor of the bill and Chairman of the Committee) told the Washington Post “He is open to changes but only legitimate changes. Some sites are totally capable of filtering illegal content, but they won’t and are instead profiting from the traffic of illegal content.” Meanwhile, opposition has been growing among tech firms and ordinary citizens. Click here for more.

ICTSD Paper on the Implementation of IP Obligations in Trade Agreements

The International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development has published a new issue paper, The Influence of Preferential Trade Agreements on the Implementation of Intellectual Property Rights in Developing Countries, by Ermias Tekeste Biadgleng and Jean-Christophe Maur. The authors find that after countries ratify trade agreements with the US and the EU,  they often face additional pressure to implement very strong interpretations of their obligations. After legislation is passed, countries are pushed to strengthen IP further. The authors warn that developing countries often do not take advantage of flexibilities available to them under the terms of the agreement.  Further research is needed to develop recommendations for implementing intellectual property obligations in trade agreements, and to estimate the costs that implementation will have for the countries implementing them. Click here for more.

WIPO Committee Debates Limitations and Exceptions to Copyright

WIPO’s 23rd session of its Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights is taking place in Geneva November 22 – December 2.   The session is debating a treaty on limitations and exceptions on libraries and archives; another on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired people; and the protection of related rights for broadcasting organizations. The Secretariat has published two working documents that are under discussion:  “Working Document on an International instrument on Limitations and Exceptions for Persons with Print Disabilities” and a “Draft Compilation on Limitations and Exceptions for Libraries and Archives.” Click here for more.

FFII: Dutch parliament refuses ACTA secrecy

The Foundation for a Free Internet Infrastructure reports that the Dutch Parliament “decided it will not take ACTA into consideration unless all ACTA negotiation texts are published.”  The move was proposed by Committee of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation Member Kees Verhoeven and adopted by a majority of the full House of Representatives. It notes that the treaty would require changes to Dutch law on copyright and internet freedoms, but the secrecy in place prevents the legislature from consulting experts and informing the public about the consequences of changes necessitated by ACTA. Click here for the full blog on

Request for Comments on the Public Interest Analysis of the US TPP Proposal

Margot Kaminski (Yale Information Society Project), Brook Baker (Northeastern University) and Jimmy Koo and Sean Flynn (PIJIP) have released a draft section by section analysis of the leaked U.S. proposals for intellectual property and pharmaceutical pricing chapters for the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (TPP). To help ensure that or analysis is as complete and accurate as possible, they are releasing our preliminary findings in draft form for public comment. Comments will be accepted through 5pm tomorrow evening.  Click here for more.

Call for Papers: Toward a Positive Agenda in International Intellectual Property Law

American University’s PIJIP is seeking contributions to its online Working Paper Series and for a Focus Issue of the American University International Law Review. The theme of the joint publication series is on promoting the public interest in international or comparative intellectual property law. Submissions will be considered for both publications. The topic for this paper series flows from the growing recognition of the public interest dimension of intellectual property as a paramount concern in international law making. Though there seems to be a fairly broad agreement on the need for a more balanced intellectual property system which effectively promotes innovation and creativity, there has been insufficient attention to mapping specific policy proposals and justifications that may animate this agenda.  Click here for more.