[A2k] IP and privacy in TTIP / TAFTA

Ante Wessels ante at ffii.org
Tue Feb 25 10:28:14 PST 2014

IP and privacy in TTIP / TAFTA
with links

February 25, 2014
By Ante

With other representatives of civil society organisations and
business stakeholders, I spent an afternoon at the Dutch
Ministry of Foreign Affairs talking about the ongoing talks on a
proposed EU – US trade agreement (TTIP/TAFTA).

Intellectual property (IP)

Of course, the ministry assured us that TTIP will not contain
ACTA-like Internet provisions or provisions that will limit
access to medicine. TTIP will neither change substantial
copyright nor the enforcement of copyright. We can only check
this after texts are published, may that happen soon. The text
of the EU-Singapore FTA is not reassuring, with examples of
damages that go beyond adequate damages, creating an upward
trend. See: ACTA-plus damages in EU-Singapore Free Trade

The story on IP is that multilateral agreements are hard to
conclude, the US and EU have rather similar systems, how to deal
with remaining differences? The Commission follows a bottom up
approach, it inventorises which issues are important for
companies, the issues may regard both substantial issues and
efficiency issues. The bottom up approach was earlier mentioned
in A TTIP Christmas wish.

Issues that may come up in the negotiations are geographical
indications (important for the EU), exportation of the EU
artist’s resale right, grace period (patents), broadcasting
rights, trade secrets and harmonisation of patent procedures.

Regarding the last issue, I noted that mutual recognition of
patent grants should not lead to software and business patents
in Europe. In 2005 the European Parliament overwhelmingly
rejected the software patents directive, they should not come
back by the back door.

There are no texts yet.


Regarding privacy, the ministry pointed to GATTS art 14,
EU-Korea FTA article 7.50.e and article 7.43, and the Charter of
Fundamental Rights of the European Union article 8. The story
became less convincing when the EU-US safe harbor agreement was
described as providing adequate protection.

The Dutch government aims for provisions as in the EU-Korea FTA
and solving conflicts resulting from the extraterritorial
effects of the US Patriot Act.

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