Special 301 Comments: Rightholders Ask to Have India Designated “Priority Foreign Country,” Criticize Multilateral Organizations for Advancing Flexibilities in IP
[Mike Palmedo] Last Friday, an interagency committee led by the U.S. Trade Representative received comments for the 2014 Special 301 Review. This annual review is a process in which it identifies countries that allegedly “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.” As part of the review, comments are accepted from the general public, and they have now been posted online. The next step of the review will be a public hearing on February 24. There will also be private consultations with other stakeholders and government officials, and a final report will be issued “on or about April 30.” Much of the attention this year has focused on India. Click here for more.
Europe-Wide Resistance Against Syngenta’s Patent on Pepper
[Joint statement by the Berne Declaration, Swissaid, Bionext, and No-patents-on-seeds] Today a broad coalition consisting of 34 NGO’s, farmers’ and breeders’ organisations from 27 European countries filed an opposition to a pepper-patent from Syngenta. The company patented an insect resistance, which they copied from a wild pepper. Such patents are ethically questionable, increase the seed market concentration, hinder innovation, and consequently pose a threat to global food security. While filing the opposition in Munich, a hot pepper soup was served to the employees of the European patent office. Click here for more.
The Effects of Copyright Enforcement on Production and International Trade in Copyright Products
[C. Ann Hollifield, Tudor Vlad, and Lee Becker] Abstract: This study uses data from multiple international sources to comparatively examine how international copyright regimes and media freedom relate to the development of national copyright industries. The findings challenge the argument that strong copyright laws are necessary for copyright-industry development. The results suggest media freedom is more effective than copyright at supporting the information creation, production, dissemination and access that drive innovation and structure the bottom of the value chain in a knowledge economy. Click here for the full paper.
Note on Reported Gilead Licenses for Hepatitis C Medicine
[Brook Baker] Gilead is reported to be in talks to issue voluntary licenses to Indian generic manufacturers for the production of sofosbuvir, an important new drug to fight hepatitis C. If the intended territorial scope of licenses is only 60 countries, it will be far less than what Gilead first offered through it voluntary licenses for ARVs and much more limited than the licensed territory negotiated with the Medicines Patent Pool. Moreover, if the territories are limited to sub-Saharan Africa, India, and low-income countries, it will miss key countries with very high HEP C burdens, e.g., Egypt. Click here for more.
See also: MSF Statement on Gilead License Negotiations. (Link)
Comment to U.S. International Trade Commission, Re: Trade, Investment, and Industrial Policies in India
[Srividhya Ragavan, Brook Baker, and Sean Flynn] We make this submission as legal academics to make the core point that, whatever effect India’s policies may have on the profits on multinational companies, including those headquartered in the U.S., India’s recent enactment and implementation of its patent law is fully in accord with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Click here for more.
German Court Blurs Lines for Domain Registrar Responsibility for Copyright Infringement
[Philip Corwin] A German court has reached the rather startling conclusion that a domain registrar can be held responsible for alleged copyright infringement at a website even though its only contact with it was to perform the original domain registration. As reported by PC Advisor on February 7th, “A domain name registrar can be held liable for the copyright infringements of a website it registered if it is obvious the domain is used for infringements and the registrar does nothing to prevent it, the Regional Court of Saarbrücken in Germany has ruled.” Click here for the full story on internetcommerce.org.
Statement on Indian Order Blocking Biosimilar Versions of Trastuzumab: Protecting Profits More Important than Protecting Patients?
[Campaign for Affordable Trastuzumab] The Campaign for Affordable Trastuzumab deplores the ex-parte order of the Delhi High Court on a petition by Swiss pharma major Roche, effectively preventing Biocon from marketing of a biosimilar of the breast cancer drug trastuzumab. It seems that the order has been issued with little concern for the Supreme Court guideline on ex-parte injunction. Click here for more.
House of Cards: Assessing the Impact of Software Infringement on Manufacturing Competitiveness
[Jonathan Band] The second season of the gripping Washington drama House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, will be available on Netflix in two weeks. But this post is about a different house of cards – the study released yesterday by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on the Economic Impact of Global Software Theft on U.S. Manufacturing Competitiveness and Innovation. Although infringement of software obviously occurs throughout the world, the NAM report contains serious flaws. Click here for more.
Developing Countries Urged To Beat Biopiracy With Patent Examination, Regulatory Frameworks
[Catherine Saez] While World Intellectual Property Organization members seek ways to address the issue of biopiracy, speakers at a side event to this week’s negotiations said the phenomenon is widespread. According to them, very few patent applicants source the origin of the resources they have used and on which they seek claims. Some measures can be taken by countries within the intellectual property system to stem the problem, they said. The side event, entitled, Tackling Bio-piracy: Policy and Legal Options, was organised by the South Centre and the Third World Network (TWN) on 5 February. Click here for the full story on IP Watch.
Lack of Choice Driving Demand for Film Downloads
[EU Press Release] Nearly 70% of Europeans download or stream films for free, whether legally or illegally, according to a new European Commission study on audience behaviour. It also finds that 40% of smartphone owners and more than 60% of tablet owners watch films on their devices. The study finds that this is not surprising because, while the public takes a lot of interest in films as a whole, the nearest cinema is often some distance from them and the choice on screen is frequently rather limited. It suggests that the European film industry can increase revenues by exploiting different types of profit-making online platforms to increase the availability of films and reach new audiences. Click here for more.