Ahmad M. Ramli, the Law and Human Rights head of Indonesia’s Intellectual Property Rights Directorate General, recently told the Jakarta Post that the government will introduce tough new IPR enforcement measures next year. According to the story, he “said that the government would increase its efforts to combat copyright piracy across the archipelago. They planned to increase the detention period for violating intellectual property rights from the current four years to 10 years. Perpetrators would also be fined Rp 4 billion (US$ 327,895). ‘We will also detain merchants of fake products for four years,’ he said, adding that they would apply sanctions against every mall permitting outlets to sell fake products.”
The 12 heads of state of the nations negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) met in Beijing today, where they issued a statement indicating they have”instructed our Ministers and negotiators to make concluding this agreement a top priority.” However, their statement did not discuss a deadline or timeframe.
They also released a “Trade Ministers’ Report to Leaders,” which aimed to show that the pace of negotiations has “accelerated” and negotiators have made progress in many areas. On the topic of intellectual property negotiations, however, the report hints that negotiators are having trouble (they are “working hard” through a “challenging” area). Here is the full bullet on this part of the negotiations:
The newly leaked May 16 draft of the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property chapter confirms previous reports that negotiators are discussing plans to postpone some of the TRIPS-Plus obligations on intellectual property and pharmaceuticals for some of the countries involved.
It includes as an addendum a “Proposal on Patent Pharmaceuticals Transition Periods” that would establish three “categories” of country, which are relatively high, middle, and low income. The relatively middle and low income countries would have transition periods that delayed their obligations related to patent extensions, linkage, and data exclusivity. After relatively short transition periods, all countries would have to apply the TRIPS-Plus rules that the World Health Organization warns may have “adverse impacts on access to medicines.” (p.72)
Today, Wikileaks has released a draft text of the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property chapter, dated May 14, 2014. This is the most up-to-date source for the text, which is kept secret by negotiators, despite numerous calls for its release. (The previous leak, upon which much of the recent TPP analysis was based, was from August 2013.)
The full text is available here. Also see comments on it from Knowledge Ecology International, Public Citizen, Derechos Digitales, Association of Research Libraries, Médecins Sans Frontières, Michael Geist, Margot Kaminski and a Wall Street Journal Story by Ed Silverman. More to come soon!
El Salvador has become the second country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. Minister of Economy Tharsis Solomon López submitted the notification on October 1.
So far, the only other country to ratify the treaty has been India, which ratified it on June 30.
Last week, 23 civil society groups released the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms at the Internet Governance Forum. The Declaration was drafted by a committee led by Edetean Ojo , Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda, which announced the Declaration as “a Pan-African initiative to promote human rights standards and principles of openness in internet policy formulation and implementation on the continent. The Declaration is intended to elaborate on the principles which are necessary to uphold human and people’s rights on the internet, and to cultivate an internet environment that can best meet Africa’s social and economic development needs and goals.”
As Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators began this week’s round of talks in Hanoi, the International Chamber of Commerce issued a white paper urging the inclusion of strong trade secret provisions in the agreement.
“Trade Secrets: Tools for Innovation and Collaboration” argues that trade secret theft has been growing since the 1990s, both within countries and across borders. Stronger protection is needed in order for businesses to operate within today’s systems of collaborative innovation and cross-border development.
Inside U.S. Trade reports that Taiwan is taking steps to develop a system of patent linkage, which would prevent generic firms from gaining marketing approval for their products while originator products are still under patent. The country wants to join the Trans Pacific Partnership at a later date, and it expects that patent linkage will be one of the requirements for countries wishing to acceded to the Agreement.
Eleven European and worldwide NGOs have issued a “Call to EU Ministers of Health and CEOs of Abbvie, BMS, Gilead, Janssen and Merck/MSD regarding Universal Access to Curative Hepatitis C Treatment in the EU and Beyond.”
The letter asks governments to “allocate human, technical and financial resources to prevent, diagnose and treat hepatitis C, establishing strategies and actions plans to eliminate the pandemic; [and] to meaningfully involve health professionals, experts, community, patients and people injecting drugs – the most affected group by HCV.” It asks pharmaceutical companies to “engage urgently in meaningful negotiations to ensure universal access to state of the art treatment to everyone living with hepatitis C. This should be done in a way that is sustainable and affordable to different health systems in Europe according to their individual capacity and in consideration of the overall financial constraints that they face.” The letter concludes: “If all bona fides negotiations fail, we believe that, as a last option, countries have the right to use compulsory licences.”
[Lotti Rutter, Treatment Action Campaign, Link, (CC-BY-SA)] On World Hepatitis Day, 26 organisations and individuals from around the world have called on the South African Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to address the public health threat of hepatitis, by implementing hepatitis B immunisation at birth, and reforming national patent laws to promote access to more affordable hepatitis therapies.
Inside US Trade reports that U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators are “down to a dozen issues” in the intellectual property chapter. However, these are among the most difficult issues remaining. The remaining unsolved issues include intellectual property and access to medicines (which is really a set of different issues), where countries are still split on what the obligations should be for low and middle income countries. Additionally, Congressional Democrats recently met with Froman, where they produced a memo warning that the TPP doesn’t reflect the May 10th agreement on data protection, linkage, and patent term extensions in developing countries.
[Cross posted from CCUSA, Link (CC-BY)] Today, Creative Commons and Creative Commons U.S.A. are sending a letter to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan supporting the Department of Education’s (DOE) adoption of the Hewlett Foundation’s definition of Open Educational Resources, and asking the Department to require open licenses for works funded by its grants.
The full letter is available here. An excerpt follows: