ITU Panels: Innovation Makes ICTs A Moving Landscape; IP Dispute Resolution Rising 14/10/2009 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment 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. Innovation in information and communications technologies during the economic downturn has brought shifts in the landscape with new technologies and newcomers in the market, according to speakers at a symposium organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Center on 8 October. Meanwhile, dispute resolution involving intellectual property rights is on the rise, they said. The symposium was held within the 2009 United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World event held from 5-9 October, which brought participants from 186 countries, according to organisers. There are four sources of disputes in ICTs, said Christian Bovet, vice president of the Swiss Federal Communications Commission: liberalisation, the development of networks, hardware and applications. In a way, monopoly situations are easier to handle, Bovet said, as liberalisation creates new types of disputes between incumbents and newcomers, or between operators and other actors. Richard Owens, director of the WIPO Copyright E-Commerce, Technology and Management Division, said the percentage of non-internet domain disputes at the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center is: patents, 46 percent, IT/telecom, 22 percent, copyright, 9 percent, and trademarks, 5 percent. There has been a large upswing in disputes in the ICT sector, according to Gordon Moir, vice president of British Telecom. An increased number of players from different sectors are seeing a converging environment, such as bundled services, where for example mobile operators are seeking fixed access, and fixed operators are seeking mobile. There also is increased complexity such as disputes over access to monopoly infrastructure, access to content, or rates for international carriage. Regulatory players are also more numerous with courts, competition authorities, regulators and policymakers, who are more and more engaged, said Moir. Richard Vary, senior intellectual property rights litigation counsel for Nokia, said interoperability standards are essential. An increase in standards and patents in ICTs has brought new challenges such as balancing the interests of the different actors, like patent holders, consumers, and third parties in dispute resolution. Other challenges for dispute resolution come from differences such as “national rights” and international industry, and issues such as the competence of tribunals in addressing a large number of patents, technical infringement arguments and IP validity. The process also needs to offer reasonable costs and timescales, Vary said. There is a gap between two models, said Richard Keck of law firm Macmillan Keck. On one hand is the regulated public utility model, which pushes towards openness with open access, rate regulations, and universal service obligations. On the other hand there is a push towards ownership under the traditional IP model, with patents, copyrights, trade secrets and privacy and data protection rights, he said. The same pattern exists with telecommunications, where the telecom regulator pushes from ownership to openness and the patent offices are pushing the other way, Keck said. Owens said WIPO has set up on request Expedited Arbitration for AGICOA, a collective society of film producers which collects for cable distribution. Contract disputes arise over royalties, and this mechanism allows for settlement if necessary. Now WIPO is establishing a new Arbitration and Mediation Center office in Singapore, which should open in January 2010. WIPO and the government of Singapore are developing a scheme for expedited arbitration for film and media-related disputes. YouTube Committed To Copyright Protection For Yoram Elkaim, senior legal counsel for South and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Google, every Google activity has some relation to copyright issues. Google acquired video-sharing website YouTube two years ago, said Elkaim, and about 20 minutes of video are added every single minute and 350 million unique users visit the site every month. The question is not whether the content on YouTube is copyrighted but rather if the content was posted by the rights holder, said Elkaim. Different rights can co-exist in a single video, such as screenplay, photography and sound recording. There are also different rights in different territories so it is sometimes difficult for a platform like YouTube to investigate, he said. However, YouTube has a longstanding commitment to copyright protection, Elkaim said. User education, prominent copyright warnings, and limiting regular user uploads to 10 minutes to avoid the upload of full-length commercial television programming and movies are all part of YouTube’s effort to limit infringement. YouTube also has set up a content identification system that allows them to “fingerprint” content to protect rights holders. Regulators should have a more active role in dispute resolution, said Pierre-Yves Gunter of Python and Peter in Switzerland. Commercial arbitration offers many advantages in telecommunications disputes, he said. Key factors include: the choice of arbitrators, their specialisation, their ability to grant interim relief, as well as the choice of applicable law, arbitration venue, language, and the limited grounds for appeal. The only disadvantages are costs and confidentially not being fully protected under institutional rules, said Gunter. With 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions globally by the end of 2009, according to the ITU, and a rapidly rising growth in ICTs in many parts of the world, the ITU World 2009 event called for increased collaboration and high-level dialogue in order to make global networks accessible to more users. The digital divide should be reduced and all actors should work towards the Millennium Development Goals, according to an ITU press release. Some technology experts also called upon the ITU to provide a platform to shape the global ICT standardisation landscape, according to an ITU press release. During a meeting held at the ITU on 6 October, ITU senior management and technology leaders, 19 private-sector chief technology officers called for a unified international approach to technology development. Standards are increasingly important in “the rapidly evolving information society,” they said, adding that standards are a “universal language” promoting innovation, effectiveness and efficiency. Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."ITU Panels: Innovation Makes ICTs A Moving Landscape; IP Dispute Resolution Rising" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.