US Congressional, USPTO Officials See Geneva Policymaking Up ClosePublished on 19 February 2009 @ 8:10 pm
By William New, Intellectual Property Watch
A small group of United States congressional staff and officials from the Obama administration working on intellectual property issues were in Geneva this week to discuss IP policy with representatives of intergovernmental organisations and industry, according to sources.
The visit, organised by the US Patent and Trademark Office, included meetings with the US mission to the United Nations and to the World Trade Organization, as well as with officials from the World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and WTO.
The visit was not timed specifically to a particular event in Geneva, but had been in planning for some time, an official said. Another such visit may be in the works. Congressional members and other US officials frequently come to Geneva to get an up-close look at the intensive policymaking in its institutions.
Congressional staff on the trip were expected to include: Christal Sheppard, counsel for House of Reprentatives Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers of Michigan (Democrat); John Mautz, legislative director for Rep. Howard Coble of North Carolina; and Matthew Sandgren, counsel for Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights.
Others were Erik Stallman, senior legislative counsel for California Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who is on the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, the Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus and the IP Caucus; and Philip Tahtakran, legislative director and counsel for California Rep. Adam Schiff, who is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, and co-chair of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, and on the IP Caucus.
USPTO staff included: Jefferson Taylor, director of the Office of Governmental Affairs; Margaret Focarino, acting commissioner for patents; Charles Eloshway, deputy director for the Office of Intellectual Property Policy and Enforcement; and Paul Zanowski, congressional affairs liaison for the Office of Governmental Affairs.
The delegation met with key members of the US mission to the UN, such as the acting officer in charge, Mark Storella, the Health Attaché David Hohman, Otto VanMaerssen, counselor for economic and science affairs, and IP Attaché Deborah Lashley-Johnson. They also met with members of the US mission to the WTO, including David Shark, deputy permanent representative (Permanent Representative Peter Allgeier is now acting US Trade Representative), and Nancy Omelko, the IP attaché to the WTO.
The visitors also were expected to meet with WTO Deputy Director Rufus Yerxa.
They also held a working lunch with WIPO officials, including Michael Keplinger, deputy director general for copyrights and related rights and enforcement; Richard Owens, director of the copyright, e-commerce, technology and management division; John Tarpey, director of coordination sector for external relations, industry, communications division. Others were Alan Datri, senior counsellor for trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications; and Matthew Bryan, director of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and patents, Arbitration and Mediation Centre, and global IP issues PCT legal division.
Many of the officials the delegation met with are Americans. There did not appear to be any non-governmental organisations on the agenda.
At the WHO, the subject was the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness under discussion there. Hohman of the mission accompanied them to meet with Elil Renganathan, executive secretary for the WHO secretariat on public health, innovation and IP; Precious Matsoso, director for technical cooperation for essential drugs and traditional medicine; Nick Drager, senior advisor for the Department of Ethics, Trade, Human Rights and Health Law; Keiji Fukuda, coordinator for the global influenza program and Anne Huvos, legal officer for the global influenza program.
Others on the agenda during the trip included the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA, headed by former US official Alicia Greenidge); and law firm Sidley Austin, which also represented the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America at the meeting.
Finally, they attended a roundtable on “How to Shape a Positive Agenda on IP” with General Electric (GE), Business Software Alliance (BSA) and IFPMA. GE was represented by Thaddeus Burns, senior corporate counsel and former US IP attaché in Geneva, BSA by Francisco Mingorance, director of public policy Europe, and IFPMA by Greenidge.
William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.