Mar 212013
 

US-EUIn this year’s State of the Union Address, President Obama announced talks for a Transatlantic Trade and   Investment Partnership with the European Union. This agreement will likely include provisions on intellectual property (IP), which are often controversial . If IP provisions are included, they will likely reflect language in existing treaties. Below is a comparison of language between two of the most substantive and recent free trade agreements (FTAs) adopted by the US and the EU for one controversial area of IP: liability for internet service providers (ISP) for infringing content.

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Dec 022012
 

Tobacco giant, Philip-Morris, brought actions this year under investor-State arbitration mechanisms in investment treaties to challenge laws limiting (in Uruguay) or prohibiting (in Australia) the display of its trademarks in tobacco packaging. This has caused the Australian government to take a strong stance against any investor-State arbitration provisions in free trade agreements (FTAs), including exemptions from the proposed investor-state settlement provisions of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), currently being negotiated.  However, a closer look reveals a broad collection of older treaties that do not contain exceptions in modern treaties that could have avoided this situation. As a multinational-enterprise, Philip-Morris has attempted to evade these exceptions by going through subsidiaries to bring claims under more favorable treaties. This reveals that Australia’s new stance against investor-State arbitration may do nothing to prevent similar claims being brought in the future.

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Nov 272012
 

Matt Webb

On July 6, 2012, China’s National Copyright Administration published a Second Draft for a new (third) revision (Chinese version) to the Copyright Law for the People’s Republic of China 《中华人民共和国著作权法》. Once adopted, this will become the Third Revision to the Copyright Law since it was originally enacted in 1990.  Changes in the Second Draft from the First Draft published March 31, 2012 (Original Chinese / English translation by China Copyright and Media) represent a move to a more American system, including both an “open list” of exceptions to exclusive rights and a pseudo-“three step test” to which these exceptions must conform.  I have also translated the Chapter on The Limitations to Rights from the Second Draft (highlighting the differences between the two recent drafts).

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Nov 202012
 

Matthew Webb

The success of the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) process in advancing transparency in the investment policy-making at the international level provides a practical and achievable framework for other areas on trade.  Though far from perfect, the Model BIT has improved transparency for the highly controversial area of investment, while still allowing the US to successfully negotiate a multitude of BITs and investment chapters.

Because trade policies involving intellectual property rights (IPR) are also very controversial, the Model BIT framework could be used to create model IPR Agreements and chapters to increase the legitimacy of international policy making in this area. Continue reading »

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