[Ip-health] USTR holds NGO briefing on TPP negotiations | Knowledge Ecology International

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Thu Jan 10 15:26:52 PST 2013

The web version has a couple of pictures.  Jamie


USTR holds NGO briefing on TPP negotiations

Today, January 10, 2013, USTR held a remarkably uninformative briefing
on the negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement
for non-industry NGOs. Barbara Weisel (below center), the chief USTR
negotiator for the TPP, led the briefing, accompanied by two persons
from the public engagement offices.

As part of USTR's "separate but .." policy, industry lobbyists and
trade associations were given separate briefings, and as a consequence
of the segregation, our briefing was probably the least revealing.
Contributing to the uninformative nature of the briefing was the fact
that aside from Weisel, none of the USTR substantive experts were in

The USTR had limited invitations to one representative per
organization (KEI and Public Citizen both had multiple staff members
attend under different organizations), but the reason for the one
person limit was not obvious, as the room as nearly empty, with only a
handful of persons in attendance.

Earlier KEI had asked USTR to make a call-in option available to
persons who could not attend a meeting in Washington, DC. I told USTR
that its decision to eliminate the call-in options for the meeting
reinforced the message that USTR did not care about people who did not
have a DC presence. We mentioned that USTR allowed call-ins during the
ACTA briefings. USTR responded by saying it was already doing enough
to make the briefings accessible.

I asked USTR if this week's proposal by the USDOJ and USPTO to
dramatically restrict the availability of injunctions for the
infringement of standards essential patents (SEPs) would be subject to
litigation by patent owners under the TPP's still secret Investment
Chapter text. Weisel said she did not know, but encouraged us to
follow up, after the briefing. Public Citizen asked a follow up
statement on the Investment chapter, and was also asked for a follow
up conversation.

In one bit of news, Weisel did say that the USA has not yet decided if
it will table a proposal for 12 years of exclusivity for test data for
biologic drugs.

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch group complained about the New
Zealand round of negotiation, where NGO access to the negotiating
venue was blocked. USTR said “we are doing our best” to make the
stakeholder involvement work, suggesting it was sometimes "too
expensive" for the hosts to have the space to interact with the

I pressed USTR on the continued secrecy of the text, noting that it
was odd to have people expected to comment intelligently on a text
when we had to rely upon the type of leaks that led to the jailing of
Bradley Manning. I noted that the ACTA text was released to the public
while it was being negotiated, that the full FTAA text had been
released, and noted that WIPO releases its negotiating texts
frequently, sometimes as many as three times in the same day. USTR
said it was not willing to “negotiate in public.”

I brought up the fact that we had asked repeatedly for a provision in
the TPP to require countries to take steps to ensure domestic laws
would permit the cross border import and export of copies of
copyrighted works created under exceptions for persons who are blind
or have other disabilities. USTR said that there was nothing in the
text for blind people. I asked, why, but USTR declined to respond.

At the end of the meeting, I mentioned our concerns about the text in
the TPP as regards the copyright three-step-test. We reiterated our
position that important elements of US fair use law should not be
subject to the three-step-test, and in particular, that various
specific exceptions under the Berne Convention have more liberal and
favorable to fair use standards, and that it would be a big mistake
for the TPP to allow foreign countries to challenge US fair use under
the three-step test. Weisel said that USTR did not agree, and was
willing to have the US fair use laws subject to TPP dispute resolution
under a three-step-test standard.

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