U.S. Supreme Court Decides Myriad, Isolated DNA Not Patentable
[Joshua Sarnoff] The U.S. Supreme Court just issued a momentous decision, invalidating as not “patent eligible subject matter” patent claims to own “isolated DNA” molecules that have not been modified from natural genetic sequences by removing the non-coding DNA regions. The Court’s decision also suggests that isolated natural proteins and compounds that can be used as pharmaceuticals are also patent ineligible products of nature. …the decision will free researchers, clinicians, and the public to perform research and diagnosis without restriction to use of Myriad’s (or other patent holders’) laboratories (including for important second opinions by independent laboratories). Click here for more.
Least Developed Country TRIPS Exemption Approved With Mixed Reactions
[Sangeeta Shashikant] The members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) adopted a decision on 11 June for the world’s poorest nations to exercise their right to be exempted from implementing the organisation’s intellectual property rights agreement. In a hard-won decision, for another eight years, least developed countries (LDCs) shall not be required to apply the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), except for Articles 3, 4 and 5. The decision does not include the highly contentious “no-rollback” clause contained in the previous decision concerning the exemption (IP/C/40) taken in 2005 and which expires on 1 July. This decision brings to an end months of uncertainty over the fate of the “duly motivated request” submitted by Haiti on behalf of the LDCs last November seeking an unconditional extension of the transition period for as long as a country remains a LDC. Click here for the full report on the TWN website.
New Study: The Profitability of Copyright-Intensive Industries
[Jonathan Band] …In this study, we have examined the performance over the past ten years of five leading firms in three copyright-intensive industries: motion pictures, publishing, and software. We then examined the performance of five leading firms in three other industries: construction, transportation, and mining. Finally, we compared the profitability of the firms in these six industries. We found that the firms in the copyright-intensive industries were significantly more profitable than the firms in the other industries in every period examined. Moreover, in this ten-year period, the copyright-intensive industries’ profit margins on average grew by 3.98%, while the other industries’ profit margins on average decreased by 0.75%. Click here for more.
The Topsy-Turvy ITC
[Jorge Contreras] The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), a once-sleepy tribunal that, until recently, devoted its time to stopping imports of counterfeit handbags and pirated DVDs, has gone rogue. The purpose of the ITC, originally chartered by Congress in 1916, is “to adjudicate trade disputes between U.S. industries and those who seek to import goods from abroad.” The need for such an agency is clear. Rip offs of famous brands and content hurt domestic business and there is often no practical way to identify, let alone sue, offshore counterfeiters in their home jurisdictions. Thus, blocking counterfeit goods at the border was a sensible approach in 1916 and remains so today. But recently matters coming before the ITC have expanded, primarily in the area of patents.
Colombian Government Agrees to Discuss the ‘Law Lleras IV’ with Civil Society
[Carolina Botero] On May 17th, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Fernando Carrillo, and the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Sergio Diaz-granados, presented Bill 306 of 2013 to the House of Representatives, The Bill aims to implement some of the commitments of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States on copyright. The initiative takes up almost identically the text of the 1520 Act that was declared unconstitutional by the Colombian Constitutional Court in January.
Days after, the collective ‘RedPaTodos‘ met with some of Diaz-Granados’ staff at the Ministry to express their concerns regarding the draft and, above all, to reiterate the need for the project to be discussed with civil society. Click here for more.
To What Extent Can Global IP Rules Be Responsive To Public Interest Demands? The Case Of The Treaty For The Visually Impaired
[Ahmed Abdel Latif and Pedro Roffe] To what extent can global intellectual property rules address in an effective manner the needs of the most vulnerable members of society? This is the key question facing member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as they prepare to meet for a diplomatic conference, in Marrakesh, that might result in the adoption of a treaty to facilitate access to copyrighted works by visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities. Click here for more.
The fight over net neutrality in Brazil: a new and taller bump in the road for Marco Civil
[Carolina Rossini] On May 23, Brazil’s federal communications commission – ANATEL – passed a resolution with sweeping implications for internet service provision, net neutrality, and regulatory power. Resolution 614/2013 extends ANATEL’s regulatory reach from its traditional home in telecommunications systems all the way into the provision of internet services. This extension and others like it can significantly impact the internet access market in Brazil. These over-reaches also pose serious challenges to net neutrality policies pending in the Marco Civil legislation (known internationally as Brazil’s “Constitution for the Internet”). Click here for more.
Peruvian Trade Minister on IP in the Trans Pacific Partnership: “will not go one millimeter beyond” our FTA with the U.S.
[Mike Palmedo] Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism José Silva Martinot – asked about intellectual property (IP) provisions proposed by the United States in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations – said on television that Peru will not accept terms that exceed those in its existing bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. The minister said “We as Peru have been clear and we will not go one millimeter beyond what has already negotiated.” Peruvian officials have indicated their reluctance to exceed US-Peru FTA provisions on IP in the past, but recently they have come under increasing pressure not to give in to U.S. demands. Click here for more.
Big Pharma shows its influence in the Senate Finance Committee
[Stephanie Burgos] Teenagers are notorious for giving one-word responses when their parents inquire how school is going. Last week’s Senate Finance Committee’s hearing on Michael Froman’s nomination as US Trade Representative reminded me of this dynamic. Because so much of the interrogation airtime was devoted to grandstanding, rather than actual questioning, Mr. Froman seemed to have little option other than to say “yes” and express his willingness to work with a Senator on an issue. Teenagers will say just enough to end their parents’ lecturing and get them off of their backs, eye rolls an added bonus. Well-intentioned parents, after all, were teenagers once too and want to impart their knowledge. Click here for more.