Oct 252016

cc2Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link (CC-BY)

It’s Open Access Week 2016. Open Access Week is an annual week-long event that highlights the importance of sharing scientific and scholarly research and data. Its goal is to educate people on the benefits of open publishing, advocate for changes to policy and practice, and build a community to collaborate on these issues. This year’s theme is open in action. Today we are exploring open access policy within philanthropy by interviewing Robert Kiley from the Wellcome Trust. From brokering the Bermuda Principles for immediate sharing of DNA sequence data in 1996 to being the first funder to mandate open access to our funded publication in 2005, Wellcome has been at the forefront of open research for over two decades. Continue reading »

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Oct 172016

pills - cc hitthatswitchIndia is often called the “pharmacy of the developing world” because its pharmaceutical firms provide a large portion of the generic drugs consumed in the South. However, Northern countries are increasingly importing Indian drugs as well, as high prices have led to greater generic uptake.

As an example, the United States has greatly expanded the amount of medicines it buys from India. Continue reading »

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Oct 132016

copyright office seal 140pxThe U.S. Copyright Office is requesting comments on Section 1201 of Title 17, which governs the circumvention of copyright protection systems.  The deadline for submitting comments is October 27.  There has been a previous round of comments associated with this study, and earlier comments are available here.

The Copyright Office’s federal register notice includes three specific areas of inquiry (though interested parties may address “any other pertinent issues” related to Section 1201).   Continue reading »

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Oct 102016

siiaLast week, the USTR-led inter-agency Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) held a hearing on China’s compliance with WTO obligations, to inform its upcoming report to Congress on the matter. Comments submitted by Carl Schonander of the Software & Information Industry Association incorrectly claim Chinese patent law contains compulsory licensing provisions that do not comply with the TRIPS Agreement because compulsory licenses are intended for use in “national emergencies or other circumstances of extreme urgency.” Similar misreadings TRIPS Article 31 have come up (and been put down) in the IP and access to medicines debate, but this is the first time I’ve seen it regarding software. Continue reading »

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Sep 142016

cato institute logoThe Cato Institute has released a report that “presents a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) from a free trader’s perspective.” It notes that TPP is really more of a “managed” or “freer” trade agreement than an agreement that really promotes “free trade” in a classic sense. It finds that overall, the “terms of the TPP are net liberalizing,” but that some of the individual chapters – including the intellectual property chapter – are actually “protectionist.” Continue reading »

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Sep 082016

public knowledgePublic Knowledge Press Release, Link (CC-BY-SA)

Today we’re releasing our newest report, “Captured: Systemic Bias at the U.S. Copyright Office.” This report examines the role of industry capture and the revolving door between the major entertainment industries and the Copyright Office, and the implications that capture has had on the policies the Office embraces. Continue reading »

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Jul 292016

palmedoThis post uses two common indicators of innovation to see how the technology hardware sector compares in countries with and without fair use. It illustrates that research and development spending by firms in these industries has been higher in countries with fair use, controlling for other firm- and country-level factors. It then shows more patents have been granted to the technology sector in countries that have adopted fair use, relative to patents granted to firms in the same industries in other countries, controlling for other country-level factors. Continue reading »

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Jun 272016

capitol building - USG photoJan Schakowsky and U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and John McCain introduced H.R. 5573; the Price Relief, Innovation and Competition for Essential Drugs (PRICED) Act. As reported on congress.gov, the bill would “amend the Public Health Service Act to shorten the exclusivity period for brand name biological products from 12 to 7 years.” (The full text has not yet been uploaded.)  This would allow generic firms to enter the market sooner, pulling down prices through competition.

A press release by Rep. Schakowsky notes that the legislation has been endorsed by a number of large civil society groups, including AARP, and the AFL-CIO. It also lists  Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT),  and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) as co-sponsors in the House. Continue reading »

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Jun 222016

palmedoI’ve written before on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s International Intellectual Property Index, which ranks the strength of countries’ intellectual property protection based  on publicly available information about the IP landscape in each country. This includes laws, regulations, court decisions, academic studies, analysis from bodies like OECD, and news stories. As I mentioned in my post on the 2014 index, a fair amount of subjectivity goes into the document, which ranks the U.S. #1 and is used to promote the expansion of U.S.-style intellectual property norms.

Today I came across James Nurton’s post on the Managing IP Blog about the multinational law firm Taylor Wessing’s Global Intellectual Property index (GIPI). This comparison of countries’ IP protection ranks the U.S. at 24 out of 43 – tied with Chile and occupying a neighborhood in the list among other countries the U.S. has accused of inadequate IP protection.   Continue reading »

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May 172016

colombia flag - better cropping[Joint Letter Signed by 122 Experts – PDF in English and Spanish, with Signatures] Dear President Santos:  We are lawyers, academics and other experts specializing in fields including intellectual property, trade and health, writing to affirm that international law and policy support Colombia´s right to issue compulsory licenses on patents in order to promote public interests including access to affordable medicines. Continue reading »

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May 092016

aust productivity commPrevious infojustice posts about the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements have focused on its recommendation that Australia adopt fair use in its copyright law (here and here).  This post highlights the findings regarding the extension of terms for pharmaceutical patents. Australia’s law, in effect since 1999, grants extensions to pharmaceutical firms to make up for time during which the patented drug is awaiting marketing approval.  Total patent term may be extended up to a total of 25 years. Continue reading »

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May 022016

australia flagA draft report by the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) concludes that the current copyright law fails to properly balance the interests of copyright holders and users.  It warns that “Australia’s copyright arrangements are weighed too heavily in favour of copyright owners, to the detriment of the long-term interests of both consumers and intermediate users.”  The APC makes recommends changes to the law to address the imbalance, including “the introduction of a broad, principles-based fair use exception.” This follows the 2013 Australian Law Reform Commission report on Copyright in the Digital Economy, which also recommended that Australia amend its copyright law to include fair use. Continue reading »

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