Apr 162015
 

OCTOBER 11, 2010 - Law professor David Levine. (Photo by Kim Walker)The New York Times reported this afternoon that a Congressional agreement has been reached on so-called “fast track” authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). This international agreement, having been negotiated under extreme secrecy by 12 countries including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore, is supposed to be an “ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that reflects U.S. economic priorities and values.” Indeed, if it comes into effect, it will be the largest such agreement in history, covering some 800 million people. Unfortunately, its chances of meeting that laudable goal have been severely diminished by the aforementioned secrecy. 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 152015
 

sean - 150x150I released a statement earlier today opining that the today’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement (available at https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter.pdf) would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights in unaccountable international arbitration forums. This note gives further background and analysis supporting that statement. Continue reading »

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Apr 132015
 

bkBelow is the abstract from the full paper, coauthored with Hannah Brennan and Peter Maybarduk, which was published last week in the Yale Journal of International Law.  The full paper is here.

On October 16, 2014, WikiLeaks released a complete draft of the Intellectual Property Chapter of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). The TPP is a controversial free trade agreement being negotiated behind closed doors by officials from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam. The United States’ most recent proposals for the TPP’s intellectual property chapter would require the majority of the negotiating parties to significantly alter the scope of their intellectual property laws—changes that would raise drug and crop costs, therein restricting access to affordable medicines and foodstuffs. For those nations that have already aligned their domestic laws with the TPP’s intellectual property provisions, this agreement would further ossify detrimental standards. This feature examines one piece of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter: the text’s provisions on patentability requirements. We argue that the patentability requirements set forth in the TPP could seriously harm public health and local farming practices in the negotiating countries.

 

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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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Apr 082015
 

sean - 150x150Last week I expressed my shock in seeing that the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement proposes to expand (or at least clarify) the ability of corporations to challenge intellectual property limitations and exceptions in so called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals. One source of that surprise came from my recollection of repeated meetings with USTR negotiators who assured me and others that ISDS forums were not intended to provide a means to challenge intellectual property limitations and exceptions. Continue reading »

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Mar 262015
 

sean - 150x150I released a statement earlier today opining that the today’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement (available at https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter.pdf) would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights in unaccountable international arbitration forums. This note gives further background and analysis supporting that statement. Continue reading »

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Mar 262015
 

sean at podiumToday’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights in unaccountable international arbitration forums. The text contains the same provisions that are being used by Eli Lilly to challenge Canada’s invalidation of patent extensions for new uses of two medicines originally developed in the 1970s. The same language is also being used by Philip Morris to challenge Uruguay’s regulation of advertising on cigarette packages as an “expropriation” of their trademarks. But the TPP language goes farther. It includes a new footnote, not previously released as part of any other investment chapter and not included in the U.S. model investment text — clarifying that private expropriation actions can be brought to challenge “the cancellation or nullification of such [intellectual property] rights,” as well as “exceptions to such rights.”

Continue reading »

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Mar 192015
 
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

[Maira Sutton, EFF, Link (CC-BY)]  “We are deeply concerned about this situation in which important decisions for our nation’s culture and society are being made behind closed doors” reads a joint public statement from Japanese activists who are fighting the copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A group of artists, archivists, academics, and activists, have joined forces in Japan to call on their negotiators to oppose requirements in the TPP that would require their country, and five of the other 11 nations negotiating this secretive agreement, to expand their copyright terms to match the United States’ already excessive length of copyright. Continue reading »

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Mar 162015
 

afl-cioIntroduction: Recently the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a memo to reporters with Q&A’s on Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). ISDS is a mechanism by which foreign investors can challenge national governments, alleging that the government violated their investor rights. These rights include the right to be fairly compensated for expropriated property and to non-discriminatory treatment, but also the right to a “minimum standard of treatment,” which includes “fair and equitable treatment” and “full protection and security” and the right to be free from “performance requirements.” Continue reading »

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Mar 132015
 

capitol building - USG photoEarlier this month the Progressive Congressional Caucused released principles for guiding trade negotiations intended to “create a net increase of good American jobs, spur more balanced trade between partners, and improve governance, public health, and environmental protections around the world.”  The full Principles for Trade are here (PDF).  The section titled “Secure Affordable Access to Essential Medicines and Services” follows: Continue reading »

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Mar 112015
 

heesobnam[Cross posted from Heesob’s IP Blog, Link] One of the controversies in implementing the KorUS FTA is whether biological products are subject to the patent linkage obligation of the KorUS FTA. The debate was provoked by the Korean government’s proposal which applies the patent linkage to biologics. But it is unclear if the FTA text imposes such an obligation.

Chapter 18 (IPRs) has no definition of pharmaceutical products for the patent linkage, only the provision of patent term extention defining a “new pharmaceutical product” as “a product that at least contains a new chemical entity that has not been previously approved as a pharmaceutical product in the territory of the Party.” See Article 18.8:5 FN21. In contrast, Chapter 5 (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices) makes clear that “pharmaceutical product or medical device means a pharmaceutical, biologic, medical device, or diagnostic product.” Continue reading »

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