USTR Requests Comments for the 2018 Special 301 Review
The U.S. Trade Representative has requested comments for the 2018 Special 301 Review, in which it seeks to “identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection.” Any “interested person” can submit a written comment and/or request to testify at an open hearing. The deadline for comments and requests to testify is February 8, and the hearing will be held on February 27. For more information, see the USTR’s Federal Register Notice.
The Defense of Education at the World Intellectual Property Organization
[Teresa Nobre] As we reported last month, Communia attended the 35th session of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), which took place from 13 – 17 November in Geneva. The SCCR has a mandate to discuss limitations and exceptions to copyright, including for educational purposes. While Communia supports efforts to reach minimum international standards of exceptions and limitations to copyright in all the different areas that are currently under discussion (libraries, museums, archives, persons with disabilities, and education), our role there is specifically to support the dialogue on educational exceptions. Click here for more.
What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2018? Under the Law that Existed Unitl 1978… Works form 1961
[Duke University Center for the Study of the Public Domain] Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1961 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2018, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2057. Click here for more.
Trade Secrets amd Innovation: Evidence from the ‘Inevitable Disclosure’ Doctrine
[Andrea Contigiani, Iwan Barankay and David H. Hsu] Does heightened employer-friendly trade secrecy protection help or hinder innovation? By examining U.S. state-level legal adoption of a doctrine allowing employers to curtail inventor mobility if the employee would “inevitably disclose” trade secrets, we investigate the impact of a shifting trade secrecy regime on individual-level patenting outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences design taking unaffected U.S. inventors as the comparison group, we find strengthening employer-friendly trade secrecy adversely affects innovation. We then investigate why. We do not find empirical support for diminished idea recombination from suppressed inventor mobility as the operative mechanism. While shifting intellectual property protection away from patenting into trade secrecy appears to be at work, our results are consistent with reduced individual-level incentives to signaling quality to the external labor market. Click here for more.
Chinese Intellectual Property Policies Demand a Smart U.S. Trade Policy Response – One President Trump Doesn’t Appear to be Considering
[Scott Lincicome] Rumors abound that the Trump administration will soon pursue “significant” retaliatory actions in response to alleged Chinese intellectual property rights (IPR) violations, pursuant to “Section 301” of U.S. trade law. While Chinese government IPR policies are indeed cause for concern and while Section 301 does permit the U.S. executive branch to act unilaterally in response to certain foreign trade actions, there is a smart and a not-so-smart approach to these issues, with the latter likely to be unintended by Congress, inconsistent with U.S. trade agreement obligations, ineffective, harmful for U.S. consumers and exporters, and met with a legitimate rebuke from not only China but also other U.S. trading partners. Click here for more on cato.org.