Jul 062015
 
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

Inside U.S. Trade reports that Trade Ministers have scheduled Trans Pacific Partnership Ministerial for the end of July in Hawaii. Chief negotiators will meet prior to the Ministerial to try to iron out remaining areas of disagreement.

Jiji press reports that there are six unresolved areas where “negotiations are not proceeding smoothly.” Data exclusivity for biologics is one such area.  The story quotes a Japanese negotiator saying “Unless Washington shortens the requested protection period, there is little chance of an agreement.” Continue reading »

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Jun 152015
 

sessionsEarlier this month, Senator Jeff Sessions wrote President Obama to ask him to make a section of the Trans Pacific Partnership public – the section that creates a “new transnational governance structure known as the Trans Pacific Partnership Commission” which would “have the authority to amend the agreement after its adoption, to add new members, and to issue regulations impacting labor, immigration, environmental and commercial policy.”

The senator was frustrated by the secrecy surrounding the text. To read it, he had to visit the secret reading room in the basement of the Capitol Visitors center where legislators can read the text, while being watched by security guards. He is unable to discuss anything he has read with advisers, staffers, or the people he represents. Continue reading »

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May 262015
 
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

Though the recently scheduled Ministerial meeting was postponed – reflecting other countries’ frustration with the United States’ inability to win Congressional passage of Fast Track trade negotiating authority – the intellectual property negotiators have been attempting to finalize as much text as possible.

The Japan Times reports that the intellectual property chapter appears “likely to be the last hurdle to concluding the talks.” Remaining issues that are under debate include copyright term, geographical indications, and data exclusivity (a time period during which generic firms cannot win approval of their products based on clinical data previously disclosed by branded firms). Continue reading »

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May 182015
 

auThis post presents preliminary data showing that firms in industries sensitive to copyright can succeed in countries other than the U.S. when copyright limitations include fair use.  It is an early product of an interdisciplinary project at American University, in which legal researchers are working with economics professor Walter Park to study how country’s copyright exceptions effect economic outcomes. The project has been undertaken as part of American University’s larger role coordinating the Global Network on Copyright User Rights. The research supports and expands on other recent research attempting to measure the value of fair use abroad.

Continue reading »

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Apr 162015
 
Photo by C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Photo by C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Trade Promotion Authority legislation was introduced in the House and Senate today.  The full text is available here.

Trade Promotion Authority lets Congress set trade negotiating objectives for the executive branch, and in return, the legislature agrees that it will not amend any deal reached by trade negotiators.  As Public Citizen notes in its press release, this “circumvent[s] ordinary congressional review, amendment and debate procedures” in order to rush the final acceptance legislation. Continue reading »

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Apr 132015
 
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

Inside U.S. Trade reports that an American trade official, in a closed-door breifing with business representatives, “said TPP countries have closed virtually all text issues except IP,” but that there are also remaining market access issues related to investment, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), environment and government procurement. The story also notes that countries (especially Canada) are reluctant to table final positions on outstanding issues until Trade Promotion Authority legislation advances in the U.S. Congress.  Continue reading »

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Mar 302015
 

gibert2015-coverLast week, the Lisbon Council and Innovation Economics published The 2015 Intellectual Property and Economic Growth Index:  Measuring the Impact of Exceptions and Limitations in Copyright on Growth, Jobs and Prosperity.  The report by Benjamin Gibert examines limitations and exceptions to copyright in eight OECD countries, and then describes economic growth at the overall and industry level in those countries.

The key findings: “countries that employ a broadly ‘flexible’ regime of exceptions in copyright” have higher rates of growth of their overall economy, information technology & service sectors, and even traditional media sectors.  Workers in these economies also fared better, enjoying higher wages overall, in the communications sector, and technology sector. Continue reading »

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Feb 232015
 

mexico-flagMexico’s PRI has introduced legislation, dubbed “Ley SOPITA” by some observers, that aims to “stop or prevent, in the digital environment, the commission infringements of intellectual property rights.”  It would give the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property the ability to inspect business, collect data, and make interim orders that aim to stop infringement.

A news story in El Economista quotes the  Red Collective in Defense of Digital Rights R3DMX: “The Parliamentary Group of the PRI in the House of Representatives intends … to empower the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI ) to order censorship of content, and even entire Internet sites, under the pretext of protecting copyright.” [Google-translated quote]

The full El Economista story is available here.

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Feb 232015
 

australia flagAuthors: Deborah H Gleeson, Hazel Moir and Ruth Lopert

Summary:  Intellectual property (IP) protections proposed by the United States for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have sparked widespread alarm about the potential negative impact on access to affordable medicines. The most recently leaked draft of the IP chapter shows some shifts in the US position, presumably in response to ongoing resistance from other countries. While some problematic provisions identified in earlier drafts have been removed or mitigated, major concerns remain unresolved.

Continue reading »

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Feb 132015
 
Map: Australian Dept. For. Affairs & Trade

Map: Australian Dept. For. Affairs & Trade

This week, the 16 Asian and Pacific countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are meeting in Thailand.  This trade agreement will include Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. According to the RCEP’s Guiding Principles stated at the beginning of the negotiations in 2012, the agreement will include an intellectual property chapter to promote “cooperation in the utilization, protection and enforcement” of IPR.

Japan’s proposed intellectual property text, which was leaked and has been posted online by KEI, includes numerous TRIPS Plus provisions.  (South Korea is reported to be advocating for TRIPS-Plus provisions too.) Many of the provisions would be especially harmful to the Indian generic industry, which supplies the majority of medicines used by people in developing countries. Continue reading »

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Feb 102015
 

medecindumonde[Médecins du Monde press release, Link]  Today, Doctors of the World – Médecins du Monde (MDM) has filed a European patent challenge against the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug, sofosbuvir. In recent months, Médecins du Monde and its partners have raised the alarm around the problems caused by the cost of new treatments against hepatitis C and of sofosbuvir [2] in particular. The U.S.-based pharmaceutical company Gilead holds a monopoly for sofosbuvir and is marketing a 12-week course treatment at extremely high prices – 41 000 euros in France and 44 000 euros in the United Kingdom – thereby hindering access to the drug for People Living with HCV. Continue reading »

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Feb 052015
 

budgetLast week the Obama Administration released its Budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes a number of policy proposals designed to save money for both the government and taxpayers. Its proposal to shorten the monopolies granted to brand name biologic drugs – and thereby hasten generic competition – would directly clash with the provisions the Administration seeks in the Trans Pacific Partnership. Continue reading »

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