Abstract: The debate on convergence and divergence has garnered considerable attention from policymakers and commentators involved in regulatory developments in Asia. The recent completion of the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the still ongoing negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have added fuel to this debate. Given the different leadership in these two mega-regional agreements and the exclusion of many RCEP parties from the TPP negotiations, it will be interesting to see how the agreements will affect the future efforts to set regional intellectual property standards. It will also be curious to see whether the draft and finalized standards could reveal policy preferences of the participating countries.
[Jeremy Malcolm and Jyoti Panday in EFF Deeplinks Blog, Link (CC-BY)] Provisions on digital trade are quietly being squared away in both of the two major trade negotiations currently underway—the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade talks. But due to the worst-ever standards of transparency in both of these negotiations, we don’t know which provisions are on the table, which have been agreed, and which remain unresolved. The risk is that important and contentious digital issues—such as rules on copyright or software source code—might become bargaining chips in negotiation over broader economic issues including wages, manufacturing and dispute resolution, and that we would be none the wiser until after the deals have been done.
International Centre for Trade and Development, Link (CC-BY-NC)
ICTSD is pleased to publish the fourth issue in the CEIPI-ICTSD series on Global Perspectives and Challenges for the Intellectual Property System produced jointly with the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI). The new issue, edited by Pedro Roffe and Xavier Seuba, explores the impact of plurilateralism on intellectual property law.
[Arul George Scaria and Anubha Sinha for LiveLaw.in, Link] Negotiators from sixteen countries are currently meeting in Hyderabad for discussing a free trade agreement titled Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Looking at the latest available IP chapter (leak dated October 15, 2015), RCEP stands to adversely affect nearly half of the world’s population on areas like access to knowledge and access to medicines. We would like to highlight five issues related to access to knowlege/cultural goods, based on the leaked IP chapter.
In an April 29, 2017 executive order, President Trump directed USTR and the Department of Commerce to submit within 180 days a report that reviews trade agreement performance, identifies trade abuses, and pursues trade remedies.
There is increasing attention in international trade and copyright forums to the question of how international law should protect and promote copyright user rights. I presented the following options at this year’s Creative Commons Global Summit as examples of provisions that (at least partially) promote the organization’s mission of promoting “nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet — universal access to research and education, full participation in culture — to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity.”
Existing models included in trade and other international agreements primarily serve two ends –
- protecting rights of countries to enact “fair use” rights, e.g. from the challenge that such exceptions could be held to violate the Berne “3-step test” as not being sufficiently tailored to “specific” cases, and
- affirmatively promoting user rights in copyrights systems, either through broad mandates to achieve “balance” or through mandatory exceptions for some categories of use.
Civil Society Statement circulated by Haochen Sun, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Law and Technology Centre, The University of Hong Kong. Click here to sign the Statement. Click here to download the Statement.
Introduction: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) aims to conclude a comprehensive agreement that promotes free trade and investment among Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As a hallmark of this proposed agreement, the RCEP Intellectual Property (IP) Chapter will set out a host of minimum standards for IP protection in the sixteen participating countries.
We are deeply concerned about the copyright protection standards proposed for the RCEP IP Chapter. They may cause unintended effects of stifling creativity, free speech, and economic growth. We urge that the new rounds of RCEP negotiations reconsider those standards by applying the following three principles:
Japan has become the US in drag, asserting its commitment to implementing the TPPA no matter what and pushing TPPA positions (and sometimes worse) even in areas it initially opposed in those negotiations, such as SOEs and intellectual property. Presumably this is to impress Trump in the hope the TPPA can be resurrected or a bilateral US Japan deal can rise from its ashes, with Japan surrendering once again to the American superpower.
Australia and New Zealand continue their mantra that RCEP must be a ‘high quality’ agreement and continue to demand massive commitments from developing countries. They got a lot of pushback this week.
This note comments on each provision of the leaked RCEP IP chapter (dated October 2015) in brief. Patent is omitted, where I defer to others with expertise in that area of international IP law. It argues that like so many negotiating (and unfortunately, final) texts of recent IP chapters in trade agreements, there are proposals here that would, if adopted, constitute a radically unbalanced text promoting strong rights while providing little or no protection for other stakeholders in the IP system. Like the TPP text, provisions that suggest a degree of balance are mostly optional/exhortatory, where provisions for the benefit of right holders are mostly mandatory. An exception is the enforcement provisions which are, consistent with other agreements, mostly put in terms so as to require authority to make certain orders or grant certain remedies, rather than a requirement to actually make orders.
Abstract: The inclusion of elevated standards of intellectual property protection in the recently negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement has raised serious public health concerns regarding access to medicines. A lesser-known trade agreement under negotiation in the Asia Pacific region is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Joint letter from 316 civil society groups based in countries negotiating RCEP [Printable PDF]
Dear Trade Ministers & Negotiators from the RCEP countries: This is an urgent call by 316 civil society organisations from across the Asian and Pacific countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes the 10 ASEAN Member States with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
This letter comes at a very important political moment, when in the aftermath of the US elections it seems clear that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) will not be ratified by the USA, in spite of its big push since February 2016 when the agreement was signed by the 12 countries.
The main outcomes reported by the Chair include an agreement among the trade Ministers “to foster cooperation in intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement, and raise SMEs awareness of IP commercialization. They encouraged the completion of the APEC Best Practices in Trade Secrets Protection and Enforcement on the basis of consensus at the earliest possible time.”