USTR Backtracks on Commitments with Intellectual Property & Investor-State Dispute Settlement Clause

[Sean Flynn] Last 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. Click here for more.

See also: Maira Sutton, EFF. Leaked TPP Investment Chapter Reveals Serious Threat to User Safeguards. Link.

Legal Innovation in International Intellectual Property Relations: Revisiting Twenty-One Years of the TRIPS Agreement

[Ruth Okediji] An explicit goal of the 1994 TRIPS Agreement was to secure export markets for a wide variety of knowledge goods in which industrialized countries had long held a competitive advantage. In more fundamental terms, however, the TRIPS Agreement sought to reshape the conditions of future global competition, particularly the extent to which developing countries could use intellectual property (IP) as a form of industrial policy in pursuit of strategic development objectives. Twenty-one years later, the TRIPS Agreement has neither confirmed the worst fears of developing countries nor accomplished the greatest hopes of the developed ones. Instead, both sides have inserted important points of adherence and resistance to the negotiated global IP norms, thus destabilizing many of the Agreement’s implicit political and economic bargains. Click here for more.

What Is Patentable Under the TPP

[Burcu Kilic, Hannah Brennan and Peter Maybarduk] … 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.  Click here for more.

Copyright Protections and Disability Rights: Turning the Page to a New International Paradigm

[Paul David Harpur and Nicolas Suzor] Abstract: This article argues that governments around the world need to take immediate coordinated action to reverse the ‘book famine’. There are over 129 million book titles in the world, but persons with print disabilities can obtain less than 7 per cent of these titles in formats that they can read. The situation is most acute in developing countries, where less than 1 per cent of books are accessible. Click here for the full paper on SSRN.

Text and Data Mining and the Need for a Science-friendly EU Copyright Reform

[Science Europe Working Group on Research Data] The steadily-growing amount of digitally-available research data and publications enables researchers to search and analyse these sources with the help of special software. The application of such text and data (content) mining techniques (TDM) is not limited to research. In fact, most users of the internet use them on a daily basis via companies offering search engine services. The use of TDM techniques beyond those employed by search engines is already of great importance in some research fields (for example bio-genetics, linguistics) and interest in these technologies is growing rapidly. Click here for more.

U.S. Trade Officials Tell Business Representatives that IP Is One of Last Remaining Issues in the TPP Negotiations

[Mike Palmedo] Inside U.S. Trade reports that an American trade official, in a closed-door briefing 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. Click here for more.

Faith Based Intellectual Property

[Mark Lemley] Abstract: The traditional justification for intellectual property (IP) rights has been utilitarian. We grant exclusive rights because we think the world will be a better place as a result. But what evidence we have doesn’t fully justify IP rights in their current strong form. Rather than following the evidence and questioning strong IP rights, more and more scholars have begun to retreat from evidence toward what I call faith-based IP, justifying IP as a moral end in itself rather than on the basis of how it affects the world. I argue that these moral claims are ultimately unpersuasive and a step backward in a rational society. Click here for the full paper on SSRN.