Patent Reform On US Senate Agenda; US Officials Question French Copyright Law14/12/2006 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate.By William New As the year end draws near, United States government officials are marking the ground for international intellectual property debates to come in 2007.On 13 December, Senator Patrick Leahy, incoming chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee released his committee’s agenda for next year. He said he would prioritize updating of the US patent system and ensuring US patent laws help increase global access to medicines.“Reforming our patent system will also be an enormous, but critically important, project in the new Congress,” Leahy said. “Our Constitution enshrined patent rights for a reason: ‘to promote the progress of science and useful arts.’ The spirit of American innovation has made the United States the world’s leader in intellectual property. Yet the expressions of American innovation – in the form of patented goods and processes – are only as good as the system that fosters and protects innovation.”“Our patent system was created in another century, and we need to update it,” Leahy added. “It must serve the 21st century industries that have made us the envy of the world, just as it well served the smokestack industries of an earlier era.”On what he called “life-saving medicines,” Leahy said he intends “to redouble efforts to re-examine our patent laws in the hope that by making thoughtful and practical changes we can greatly increase access to essential medicines throughout the world.”“We can help struggling families in developing nations, while improving US relations with large segments of the world’s population,” Leahy said. “The current global health crisis is one of the great callings of our time. Whether it is the Avian Flu, AIDS, SARS, West Nile Virus, or the approaching menace of multi-drug resistant bacteria, we need to recognize that the health of those half-way around the world now influences our security and affects our lives here in the United States.”He concluded: “I want the work of the Judiciary Committee to be a catalyst to help make life-saving medicines more readily available around the world.”USTR Raises Concern Over French Copyright Law; China IP EnforcementMeanwhile, this week Deputy US Trade Representative John Veroneau held bilateral meetings with French officials in Paris and raised US concerns over France’s new copyright law. France recently adopted a law to implement the European Union Copyright Directive, and included measures allowing Internet users to possibly circumvent digital rights management or technical protection measures.“We have been having ongoing discussions with French authorities to clarify certain questions about how France will implement this new law, particularly with respect to its provisions regarding technical protection measures,” Assistant US Trade Representative Sean Spicer told Intellectual Property Watch.The issue was not discussed in a context of World Trade Organization rules, he said. Veroneau also travelled to the WTO in Geneva and discussed intellectual property rights enforcement among other things“I came over to discuss a number of bilateral issues that we have in Europe and some common interests as far as intellectual property enforcement, especially in our mutual interests in better enforcement in China on common interest with regard to Russia and the multilateral accession discussions,” Veroneau told reporters.He said the officials discussed “a variety of steps that we thought we could take together” to address problems with intellectual property enforcement in China. “Some involve WTO litigation, some do not involve WTO litigation,” he said.Veroneau also delivered the message that the Democrats takeover of Congress starting in January would not mean there would be no trade agenda in Washington in 2007.William New may be reached at email@example.com.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"Patent Reform On US Senate Agenda; US Officials Question French Copyright Law" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.