[Ip-health] Infojustice Roundup - May 21, 2012

Michael Palmedo mpalmedo at wcl.american.edu
Mon May 21 13:01:31 PDT 2012

Infojustice Roundup - May 21, 2012 
Intellectual Property and the Public Interest


Law Professors Declare Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
Unconstitutional Without Congressional Approval


Last week, fifty U.S. legal scholars sent an open letter to the Members
of the Senate Finance Committee, asking each of them to "exercise your
Constitutional responsibility to ensure that the Anti-Counterfeiting
Trade Agreement (ACTA) is submitted to [Congress]." The letter responds
to State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh's earlier claim that ACTA
did not require Congressional approval because it received prior
authorization by the 2008 PRO-IP Act. The letter explains: "First, the
plain language of [the PRO-IP Act] does not authorize USTR to bind the
U.S. to any international agreement. Rather, the section merely
describes the purposes of a 'Joint Strategic Plan against counterfeiting
and infringement,' to be coordinated among multiple agencies by the
Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC). . . Second, the
PRO-IP act cannot be an ex ante authorization for ACTA because it was
not temporally ex ante. The ACTA negotiation began in 2007. PRO-IP was
not passed until 2008[.]" The letter thus concludes that "the
Administration currently lacks a means to Constitutionally enter ACTA
without ex post Congressional approval."Click here for more.


State Department Response to EFF Freedom of Information Act Request: No
Pre-Review of ACTA


Last February, the Electronic Frontier Foundation submitted a Freedom of
Information Act Request to the State Department, asking for documents
associated with the Department's review of ACTA.  As explained in a blog
post by Gwen Hinze, when a treaty or international agreement is going to
be negotiated, the State Department must prepare a "Circular 175
Memorandum" that addresses whether or not the negotiation and
implementation of the agreement are carried out in a Constitutional
manner.  The State Department response to EFF's FOIA request was that
"no Circular 175 Memorandum or Memorandum of Law were ever issued for
the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement." Click here for more.


PETITION:  Require free access over the Internet to scientific journal
articles arising from taxpayer-funded research


The following petition is on the White House "We the People" website.
The Administration will respond to the petition if it is signed by
25,000 people within 30 days: "We believe in the power of the Internet
to foster innovation, research, and education. Requiring the published
results of taxpayer-funded research to be posted on the Internet in
human and machine readable form would provide access to patients and
caregivers, students and their teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, and
other taxpayers who paid for the research. Expanding access would speed
the research process and increase the return on our investment in
scientific research. The highly successful Public Access Policy of the
National Institutes of Health proves that this can be done without
disrupting the research process, and we urge President Obama to act now
to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund
scientific research." Click here to sign the petition.


R&D Treaty Debate at the World Health Assembly  


Proposals for a global treaty on funding and coordination of medical
research and development will be discussed this week at the 65th World
Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. The proposals grow out of the ongoing
debate over the failure of the world's IP system to incentivize research
into diseases that primarily affect the world's poor.  Last month, the
Consultative Expert Working Group on R&D Financing and Coordination
recommended the negotiation of a Convention on financing and
coordination of R&D.  Kenya has submitted a WHA resolution calling on
the World Health Organization to begin work on the Convention.  A recent
paper in PLoS Medicine by Suerie Moon, Jorge Bermudez, and Ellen t'Hoen
argues in favor of the Convention, and it will be the topic of a WHA
side event hosted by MSF and HAI.  Click here for more.


Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearings on Bill to Create a Prize Fund for
HIV/AIDS Medicines


The Senate HELP Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing
on May 16 on the Prize Fund for HIV/AIDS Act (S. 1138).  The bill,
introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders, would provide direct support to
innovators while allowing immediate generic competition upon approval of
new treatments for HIV/AIDS. The witnesses who testified were Dr.
Mohammed Akhter , ( DC Department of Health), Frank Oldham (National
Association of People With AIDS), Suerie Moon (Forum on Global
Governance for Health, Harvard Global Health Institute and Harvard
School of Public Health), Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University),
Lawrence Lessig (Harvard Law School), and James Love (Knowledge Ecology
International).  A webcast of the hearing and the witness' prepared
statements are available here.


Remarks of Rep. Waxman on the Fifth Anniversary of the "May 10


[Excerpt from Rep. Waxman's prepared statement] "Five years ago today,
we achieved a breakthrough, taking a critical step toward a more
progressive trade policy that raises standards for labor, the
environment, and public health. I became involved because much of the
U.S. proposal on trade and medicines was being taken from Hatch-Waxman,
the landmark law that delivered generic drug competition to the American
marketplace.  The only problem was that our trade proposals were being
designed to have the exact opposite effect - delaying generic
competition in poor countries, countries in which the vast majority of
people could not afford brand name medicines." Click here for more.


USTR Announces Next Round of TPP Negotiations 


[By Sean Flynn] USTR has announced that the next round of TPP
negotiations will be held in San Diego, California from July 2-10.  The
Stakeholder Engagement Forum for that round will take place on Monday,
July 2. The release from USTR shows some notable sensitivities to
stakeholders, in both tone and substance. On tone, they spend quite a
bit of space justifying their halving of the time normally allotted to
stakeholder sessions and the shift to an exhibition-style table format.
To be fair, others at the meeting, even those opposed to USTR's general
outlook, have commented that the tables were relatively effective - even
if they should be in addition to instead of a substitute for
presentations. Click here for more.


BSA Report on Global Software Piracy


The Business Software Alliance has produced its 2011 Global Software
Piracy Study, which states that 57% of personal computer users have used
pirated software, and that the net rate of software piracy is 42%.   It
reports that the piracy rate in emerging markets is far higher than that
of high income countries (68% versus 24%).  It reports piracy rates and
the commercial value of licensed software in 33 individual countries,
which together represent 82% of the world computer market. Click here
for more. <http://infojustice.org/archives/23902>  



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