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2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


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    Late-Night Breakdown On Traditional Knowledge At WIPO; Future Unclear

    Published on 6 July 2009 @ 2:26 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The World Intellectual Property Organization committee on the protection of indigenous knowledge, expressions and genetic resources failed to reach consensus on future work Friday, putting the future of the committee in the hands of the WIPO General Assemblies in September.

    On future work, all that is contained in the report of the committee is that they “did not reach agreement on this agenda item,” despite days of effort on that issue alone.

    The mandate of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) expires this year, and deciding the next mandate of the group was the key task at the meeting from 29 June to 3 July (IPW, WIPO, 30 June 2009).

    But disagreements, in particular over whether or not to aim for a binding international instrument, proved too strong and no bridge could be made even on a procedure for continued negotiation, according to participants. The order in which to negotiate was an issue, as some countries wanted to see the text of a possible agreement before deciding what kind of form it might take (i.e., an instrument, or a database, or something else), while others wanted to set a goal of a legally binding international instrument and then work on its text.

    What the General Assemblies will do with the “no agreement” text is not clear; normally the assemblies act on recommendations from the committees.

    Informal consultations are planned in the interim between now and the assemblies in late September, though details are unclear. Whether the committee still had a mandate after the meeting was a point of confusion as well during the final plenary, according to several sources, though it appears that in the end the mandate carries until the end of December this year.

    The current mandate, contained in this document [pdf] from 2003, charges the committee to continue work “on questions included in its previous mandate… in particular, on a consideration of the international dimension of those questions, without prejudice to the work pursued in other fora, and no outcome of its work is excluded, including the possible development of an international instrument or instruments.”

    Even what documents will be discussed is not fully clarified, as on the last day of negotiations a text-based proposal was circulated by the European Community (IPW, WIPO, 3 July 2009), and both Australia and then Canada made proposals during the final-day plenary sessions.

    The later proposals were presented as attempts at reaching compromise, though some delegates wondered why such compromise texts could not have been circulated earlier in the week, or even before the session as was the African Group proposal [pdf]. A similar problem caused a breakdown at the last IGC (IPW, WIPO, 18 October 2008).

    A majority of developing countries had supported the African Group proposal for accelerated work towards text-based negotiations and a legally-binding international instrument, sources said. Many said they wanted to increase the strength of the current mandate, which has not produced sufficient results over the last nine years.

    Developed nations tended to prefer seeing the text of a possible instrument first before deciding on the outcome. But some developing nations were also wary of committing to something legally binding as well, citing potential problems working with national policy and other fora in which related negotiations are happening.

    But the no-consensus outcome seemed disappointing to members from all sides of the debate.

    If companies began to use and abuse the sacred symbols and names of indigenous people and continue to do it, it is because international intellectual property law has for a long time ignored and marginalised their needs, said a statement read by a representative of Senegal on behalf of the African Group on Friday.

    “The assault of business on the heritage of humanity must be controlled and then reduced,” it added. “It is justice that demands this.” [note: unofficially translated from French. The entire statement, in French only, is available here [pdf].]

    The European Union expressed its “deep concern with the outcome of the week,” in a follow-up statement obtained by Intellectual Property Watch, and expressed willingness to continue informal consultations before the assemblies.

    The United States said in a statement afterward that it was “deeply disappointed that WIPO member states were unable to arrive on agreed text to renew the mandate of the IGC this week,” and reiterated its position that no outcome should be excluded or prejudiced (that is, decided before the text is seen).

    Indigenous groups, too, were frustrated with the outcome. Two members of the Ethio-Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council, which represents the Rastafari community, expressed disappointment to Intellectual Property Watch over the lack of an agreement, and in particular the lack of progress towards a binding international instrument.

    A binding instrument is necessary because without it things will be business as usual, said Marcia Stewart (also known as Queen Mother Moses), the group’s international ambassador. “A law without teeth can be breeched with impunity,” she added.

    Marcus Goffe, the council’s legal counsel, said that the loss of momentum at the end of the session was worrying, and said that the best explanation he heard as to why legally binding instruments are necessary is that biopirates cannot be simply reprimanded.

    Separately, a member of a different indigenous community wondered about the strength of the interest of industrialised nations in protecting “the traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions of indigenous people, and the genetic resources of developing countries and indigenous peoples.”

    And a statement of the Indigenous People’s Caucus delivered Friday reminded the committee that indigenous voices should be active in any negotiating process and within any expert group that might be assembled to discuss the issues.

    But a Nigerian delegate expressed remaining optimism about the group’s future. “We will find a way,” he said. “Always you can get a solution at the twilight of an impossible hour.”

    Kaitlin Mara may be reached at kmara@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Meeting review: WIPO IGC-14 « Traditional Knowledge Bulletin says:

      [...] local community experiences … Read the IP Watch reports on the meeting of 30 June, 3 July, and 6 July 2009 … Watch a video interview with Terry Williams of the Tulalip Tribes … Read a TK Community post, 1 [...]

    2. The Intergovernmental Committee: Fourteenth Session | WIPO Monitor says:

      […] Late-Night Breakdown on Traditional Knowledge at WIPO; Future Unclear […]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

    9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

     

     
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