Michelle K. Lee to become Deputy Director of the USPTO. A very high tech appointment (and that is a good thing)
USPTO has issued a press release, announcing the appointment of Michelle K. Lee as Deputy Director of the USPTO, beginning in January 13, 2014. Currently Lee is the Director of the USPTO’s Silicon Valley satellite office. The White House reportedly wanted to appoint Lee as the Director, but may have seen the Deputy position as less controversial. For the near future, Lee will be running the USPTO, and will be the most sophisticated person as regards technology to do so, at least in our memory. According to the USPTO Press Release:
The concept of the exhaustion, which determines the point at which the IPRs holder’s control over the good or service ceases, is the subject of increased attention by policymakers and courts in different countries. It was, in particular, at the centre of two recent United States Supreme Court decisions (Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons and Bowman v. Monsanto). While the TRIPS agreement (Article 6) leaves WTO Members the latitude to adopt their own exhaustion regime (national, regional or international), regional and bilateral trade agreements are increasingly placing limitations on the ability of developing countries to do so.
Against this background, this paper examines the exhaustion doctrine from a comparative perspective by presenting different regional and national experiences (the United States, the European Union, Brazil, China and India). It also seeks to draw lessons from these experiences that could be useful to countries that are designing their exhaustion regimes. In this regard, the paper finds that the exhaustion regime differs not only depending on the type of IPR (copyright, patents and trademarks) but also across jurisdictions and industries. It concludes that if properly tailored to specific contexts, the exhaustion doctrine can contribute towards promoting innovation, social well-being and development, in conjunction with other relevant measures and policy instruments.
STATEMENT OF THE MINISTERS AND HEADS OF DELEGATION FOR THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP COUNTRIES
December 10, 2013
We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegation for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, have just completed a four-day Ministerial meeting in Singapore where we have made substantial progress toward completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
Japan wants Webcasting back into the Casting Treaty: What happened to Broadcasting in the "Traditional" Sense?
In preparation for WIPO's upcoming Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) discussions (16 December 2013 to 20 December 2013) on a proposed Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations, the Government of Japan submitted a new proposal, SCCR/26/6 (Draft Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations) on 28 November 2013 to be consolidated with the main negotiating text, SCCR/24/10 Corr.
29 Organizations and More than 70 Individuals Sign Letter Opposing Life Plus Seventy Year Copyright Term in TPP
29 organizations and more than 70 individuals signed on to the final letter opposing copyright terms of life plus seventy years in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). A PDF version of the final letter is attached below. An earlier version of the letter with a substantial number of signatures was sent to all lead IP negotiators and all chief negotiators in the TPP on Friday, 6 December 2013, in advance of the TPP ministerial.
6 Members of Congress Write to President Obama on TPP and Access to Health Care, Criticize Closed Door Negotiations
On 9 December 2013, six members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama citing concerns in the TPP regarding access to health care and affordable medicines. The six members include Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), George Miller (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Peter Welch (D-MA). The letter primarily addresses efforts by USTR that result in greater monopoly power and delay entry of generic medicines, and how such efforts will affect state and federal budgets.
Why USTR should not put MPAA and PhRMA ahead of other industries (and consumers), in trade negotiations
I am in Singapore, for a high level meeting of trade ministers, where a series of "political" issues are supposed to be resolved. The dynamics of the negotiation are fairly simple. USTR wants "more" for the MPAA and PhRMA, in terms of IPR standards and weaker controls on drug prices, and everyone else wants access to the US market. Of course, this isn't all. There are efforts by the US Chamber to undermine state owned enterprises. USTR is interested in additional access to the Japan market.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Criticizes Copyright Provisions in Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)
On December 5, 2013, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) participated in a press conference where she criticized the copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). In particular, she noted three specific concerns including exporting lengthy copyright term, restrictions on copyright limitations and exceptions, and locking in bad provisions on technological protection measures (TPMs). The full press release is reprinted below:Rep. Zoe Lofgren on Emerging & Controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Treaty
Professor Joseph Stiglitz has written an open letter to the TPP negotiators, asking that they resist proposals to weaken consumer rights in intellectual property. The letter identifies 12 specific "grave risks" in the IP Chapter, and calls upon negotiators to publish the investor state dispute resolution text.
In a 6 December 2013 letter, Representative Henry Waxman wrote to USTR Ambassador Michael Froman opposing USTR's proposal of a term of 12 years of exclusivity for biologics in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The letter notes,
[w]hile I have worked closely with Senator Hatch on important health issues, including the generic drug law that we co-authored in 1984, I strongly disagreed that the United States should be proposing twelve years of exclusivity.
USTR recently asked KEI if there were areas in the IP Chapter where we approved of the positions taken by USTR, and the answer is, yes. Given how critical we have been about the text, I will mention a few here.
USTR now "supports a more flexible approach under which partners could retain reasonable patent pre-grant opposition procedures." This is welcome, and useful.
In a word, MSF is disappointed.
Vatican criticizes Trans Pacific Partnership: Holy See statement to 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali
The 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is taking place in Bali, Indonesia from 3-6 December 2013. At the Ministerial, H.E. Archbishop, Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva delivered a withering critique of the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
On November 28, 2013, I wrote a blog about the problems in using the World Bank's definition of high income, in the specifc context of a proposal by the United States to use this as a measure of which countries in the TPP should have lower standards for intellectual property rights on medical inventions. (See: http://www.keionline.org/node/1834).
Here a different metric is presented, based upon relative incomes, benchmarked against the five highest income countries in the TPP with a population of more than 1 million persons.
This is sign-on letter -- Against life + 70 year copyright term in the TPP. See end of letter for details on how to sign.
December 9, 2013
Dear TPP negotiators,
In a December 7-10 meeting in Singapore you will be asked to endorse a binding obligation to grant copyright protection for 70 years after the death of an author. We urge you to reject the life + 70 year term for copyright.
TPP: Senator Hatch to USTR, 12 years of IPR for Biologics test data, no restrictions on cross border data flows
In a December 2, 2013 letter, Senator Orrin Hatch wrote to USTR's Michael Froman, suggesting TPP exclude any countries that do not meet "high levels of ambition." According to Hatch, these high ambitions include agreeing to 12 years of exclusive rights for IPR in biologic drug test data, and the elimination of barriers to cross border data flows (a privacy issue). A copy of the Hatch letter is attached below.
The timing of the Hatch letter is designed to pressure countries meeting in Singapore on December 7-10 in the TPP negotiation, on these two contentious issues.
Intellectual Property, Competition and Regulatory Aspects of Medicines: International Determinants and Public Policy
Intellectual property, competition and regulatory aspects of medicines: International determinants and public policy examines the most recent generation of international norms that impact on pharmaceutical products and the corresponding challenges they raise in terms of domestic implementation. The book’s fourteen chapters offer a comprehensive overview of the legal aspects of the pharmaceutical chain, which are key to the development of new drugs and access to medicines. All these questions have important economic, legal and ethical, underpinnings that are closely intertwined with intellectual property rights, competition law, consumer law and human rights.
The first part of the book focuses on regulatory aspects and examines the link between patent protection and pharmaceutical marketing authorisation, regulatory test data protection and the relevance of technical standards. The second part of the book addresses intellectual property law, and pays particular attention to issues such as the implementation of the Bolar exception, patentability criteria, enforcement issues, competition law and access to knowledge.
Against the background of growing global pharmaceutical harmonization, two-core threads are the main focus of attention in the book. First, the importance of developing national legal orders that enshrine a level of intellectual property protection that matches the social and economic needs. Second, the corresponding need for careful negotiation of new international commitments, appropriate domestic implementation and proper interpretation of international economic agreements that interrelate closely with competition and intellectual property law. It is from this double perspective that the various authors of this compilation provide a detailed analysis of key legal institutions, put forward several policy proposals, and identify a number of instances of potential litigation.
Intellectual property, competition and regulatory aspects of medicines: international determinants and public policy, is edited by Xavier Seuba (Senior Research Associate and Lecturer at Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies, University of Strasbourg, and Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona). The publication was presented recently, in Colombia, to a specialized audience of judicial authorities, public health officials and academics.
The authors (Mariano Genovesi, Aurelio López-Tarruella, Juan Camilo Pérez, Pedro Roffe, Xavier Seuba, Miguel Vidal-Quadras and David Vivas), drawing on their comparative and international experience, offer a practical piece of work that could provide guidance to legislators, public officials, legal practitioners and judicial authorities.
The electronic version of the book will be made available by ICTSD at the beginning of 2014.
I missed this news earlier. Here is a report from IP-Watch:
3-5 December 2013: WHO Global Technical Consultative Meeting of Experts on Identification of Health R&D Demonstration Projects
The World Health Organization (WHO) is convening a Global Technical Consultative Meeting of Experts on Identification of Health Research & Development Demonstration Projects from 3-5 December 2013.
The World Bank definition of "high income" has slipped, in relative terms, compared to high income countries in general
The United States has proposed that some (but no means all) IPR obligations involving medicines be modified for countries with incomes below the amount the World Bank defines as “high.” The threshold to be considered a high income country was $12,616 in per capita income for 2012, and is adjusted every year. In contrast, the US per capita income was $50,124 in 2012. (More data here)