The Question of Patent Eligible Subject Matter and Evergreening Practices

[Burcu Kilic and Luigi Palombi] Over the past few years, patent-eligible subject matter has become one of the hotly debated areas of patent law in several countries. Even in the U.S., the Supreme Court is beginning to express concerns about overly inclusive patent rules that stifle both competition and follow-on innovation.  However, significant confusion persists over the difference between patent eligible subject matter and patentability requirements. Patent eligibility tests have proven quite difficult to apply, often leading to inconsistent and unpredictable results. Click here for more.

Treatment Action Campaign Open Letter to USTR Regarding Concerns with US Pressure to Restrict India’s Generic Medicines Industry

[TAC] The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) of South Africa is extremely concerned with recent attempts by the US government to discourage and curb the globe’s supply of affordable generic medicines available from India. Specifically, we object to the placement of India on the US ‘Special 301 Watch List’ over objections to the country’s intellectual property system, as well as subsequent condemnation from Members of Congress stemming from US pharmaceutical industry pressure, and attempts by a group of US commercial businesses (under the banner of ‘Alliance for Fair Trade with India’) to influence Vice President Biden’s current meetings in India. Click here for more.

Setting the Record Straight on Fair Use in the U.S.

[Gwen Hinze, Peter Jaszi, and  Matthew Sag] Our submission provides a brief overview of the U.S. experience of the fair use doctrine since its partial codification in the Copyright Act of 1976 and responds to some specific issues raised in an earlier submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission by the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts. Gwen, Peter and I were concerned that the Kernochan Report’s representation of American experience of fair use was incomplete and potentially misleading. We wrote this submission to provide the ALRC with a different perspective. Click here for more.

Civil Society Endorsement of Brazilian Patent Legislation Available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese: Open for Endorsements

[Mike Palmedo] Earlier this month, Brook Baker posted a Civil Society Statement in support of an upcoming Brazilian legislative proposal that would make greater use of TRIPS flexibilities to promote access to medicines.  The legislation will be introduced in August and it will “eliminate patent term extensions and data exclusivity, restrict patents on new forms and new uses and tighten the the inventive step requirement (following the India example), adopt government use procedures, and clarify the role that ANVISA, its drug regulatory agency, plays in the patent examination system.” The statement is open for endorsement from civil society groups.  Marcela Vieira from the Brazilian Interdisciplinary Aids Association has translated the statement into both Spanish and Portuguese. Click here for more.

Related: Academics Letter and Brief Technical Review

Finland Writes History With Crowdsourced Copyright Law

[Ernesto]  Finland is the first country in the world in which Parliament will vote on a “fairer” copyright law that has been crowdsourced by the public. The proposal, which obtained the required 50,000 Finnish votes just a day before the deadline, seeks to decriminalize file-sharing and legalize the copying of items that people already own. Click here for more.

Intellectual Property Rights, Quality of [Formal] Institutions, and Foreign Direct Investment into Developing Asia

[Minsoo Lee and Donghyun Park] Developing Asian countries are strengthening their intellectual property rights (IPR) regime as they themselves become producers of intellectual property. At the same time, developing Asia has attracted large amounts of foreign direct investment (FDI) and this trend is expected to continue in light of the region’s strong growth prospects. In this paper, we explore the relationship between IPR and FDI in developing Asia. To do so, we develop a theoretical model which predicts that stronger IPR protection attracts more FDI in countries with small informal economies — i.e., strong institutions — but not in countries with large informal economies — i.e., weak institutions. Our empirical analysis, based on a threshold effect model, yields some evidence which supports our theoretical model. Click here for the full paper on

The Gray Zone: Networks of Piracy, Control, & Resistance

[Burcu S. Bakioglu] Abstract: Taking Operation Payback and the broader context provided by The Pirate Bay as a point of reference, this article considers the role of network-based initiatives in shaping the digital rights movement. I argue that the said operation is a significant milestone in copyright wars because it single-handedly exposed the formal and informal, legal and extralegal strategies that have crystallized into an intricate business model around intellectual property. In so doing, the operation demonstrated that like the piracy efforts it is trying to eradicate, the anti-piracy industry operates on shaky legal, ethical, and economic grounds. Put succinctly, copyright wars generate a gray zone comprising of a network of stakeholders with both complementary and conflicting agendas. As a result, Operation Payback not only mobilized an unprecedented support for the digital rights movement, but also provided a framework through which copyright-related activities of Anonymous could be understood. Click here for the full paper on