[Ip-health] Infojustice Roundup - February 27, 2012

Michael Palmedo mpalmedo at wcl.american.edu
Mon Feb 27 15:39:32 PST 2012

Infojustice Roundup  
Intellectual Property and the Public Interest


Interagency Committee Hears Testimony for the 2012 Special 301 Report 


On February 23, the Special 301 Committee held its third annual opening
hearing as part of its review of foreign countries' intellectual
property policies.  Committee Members from the following agencies were
represented:  USTR, State, Homeland Security, Commerce, Labor,
Agriculture, Library of Congress, Customs & Border Patrol, and the
Patent & Trademark Office.  Not present (for the third year in a row)
were any representatives from the Department of Health & Human Services,
USAID, or the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) - a
point noted by many who testified. Notes on the proceeding and links to
the submissions of all those who testified are available here
<http://infojustice.org/archives/8412> .  


Trans-Pacific Partnership Proposes Copyright Suppression of Price


[by John Mitchell] Dissatisfied with the exclusive right to set the
price at which copies of their works are first sold, copyright holders
have been trying, for over 150 years, to bolster the resale prices at
which copies of their works are re-sold, in order to protect them from
the normal pressures of free market price competition. Since they no
longer own the copies, they have tried extending the reach of their
exclusive right to "distribute" copies to encompass copies they no
longer own. For just as long, the courts and Congress have rebuffed
those efforts. Today, however, the United States Trade Representative is
negotiating with foreign countries to obligate Congress and the courts
to give them that power, even as their latest in a series of efforts to
extend the existing distribution right is pending before the Supreme
Court. Click here for more. <http://infojustice.org/archives/8305> 


Alternative Copyright Reform Bill Introduced in the Brazilian Chamber of


While the Ministry of Culture's much-talked about, controversial
copyright reform bill has yet to reach the Brazilian National Congress,
a deputy from the Partido dos Trabalhadores, Nazareno Fonteles, has
jumped the gun with his own take on the subject. Bill 3133/2012,
introduced February 7th in the Chamber of Deputies, is not exactly a new
proposal. It is heavily inspired by the first draft of the Ministry of
Culture's text-a very forward-looking, progressive bill, when compared
to both the current legislation and the more recent versions of the
Ministry of Culture's proposal.  Besides promoting a major overhaul on
the very foundations of copyright law, adapting it to comply with the
Brazilian Constitution, antitrust and consumer protection law, the bill
also greatly expands the list of limitations to copyright, and
establishes much-needed checks on collective rights management.
Encouragingly, the proposal's explanatory notes mention that improving
access to knowledge is the major reason for an urgent copyright reform.
Click here for more. <http://infojustice.org/archives/8275> 


Protests at Novartis Shareholder Meeting Ask Company to Drop Its
Challenge to Section 3(d) of Indian Patent Law


Protests over Novartis' challenge to India's Patents Act took place
outside the company's Annual Shareholders Meeting last week. The
challenge centers around section 3D, which does not allow the granting
of a patent for a "new form of a known substance which does not result
in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance." The company
wants the Supreme Court to apply a loose definition of "efficacy,"
allowing for looser patentability standards. Health advocates warn that
this will block generic competition. They argue that India's role as
"pharmacy to the developing world" means that people worldwide depend on
generic competition in India. Click here for more.


Research Works Act Shelved by Sponsors


The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the sponsors of the
Research Works Act - Reps. Issa and Maloney - have pledged not move the
legislation forward.  The bill would have prevented government agencies
from requiring that peer-reviewed literature funded by their grants be
made freely available online. The sponsors' statement: "As the costs of
publishing continue to be driven down by new technology, we will
continue to see a growth in open-access publishers. This new and
innovative model appears to be the wave of the future. The American
people deserve to have access to research for which they have paid. This
conversation needs to continue, and we have come to the conclusion that
the Research Works Act has exhausted the useful role it can play in the
debate." Click here for more. <http://infojustice.org/archives/8477> 


Reactions to De Gucht's Announcement that EC has Sent ACTA to European
Court of Justice


On February 22, EC Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht announced that the
Commission has referred ACTA to the European Court of Justice to "assess
whether ACTA is incompatible - in any way - with the EU's fundamental
rights and freedoms, such as freedom of expression and information or
data protection and the right to property in case of intellectual
property." MEP David Martin said this move showed "there are still many
question marks about ACTA and what the implementation of the agreement,
as it stands, would mean for citizens and for the freedom of the
internet."  FFII noted that De Gucht did not mention criticisms related
to access to medicines or environmental technologies.  La Quadrature du
Net noted that the agreement will not address important political (as
opposed to legal) questions surrounding ACTA. Click here for more.


PIJIP Research Paper: TRIPS-Plus, FTAs and Wikileaks - Fresh Insights on
the Implementation and Enforcement of IP Protection in Developing


Author: Mohammed El Said. Abstract:  "Leaked diplomatic cables related
to the United States' foreign policy implementing and enforcing
intellectual property in developing countries draw a bleak picture. U.S.
interest groups and local agents collaborate to achieve higher levels of
intellectual property protection without taking into consideration the
public interest and consumer rights of local communities. This ...
jeopardizes the lives of millions of citizens across the globe. It also
undermines the foundations of the global multilateral trading regime and
its institutions." Click here for the paper.


"Africa IP Forum" Postponed


The "Africa IP Forum," originally cosponsored by WIPO, numerous
intellectual property rightholders, and a handfull of governments, has
been postponed.  Civil society groups objected to the conference's
corporate sponsorship and IP-maximalist agenda, and pushed for the
cancellation of the meeting.  Over 100 groups signed an open letter to
WIPO warning that the strong IP policies advanced by the conference
sponsors would not be beneficial to African countries.  Rather, they
were likely to block access to medicines, access to knowledge, and
freedom of expression on the internet. Click here for more.




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