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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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    Indigenous Peoples Walk Out Of WIPO Committee On Genetic Resources

    Published on 22 February 2012 @ 12:57 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The International Indigenous Forum, in an unprecedented collective move, decided yesterday to withdraw from the discussions of the WIPO Committee on Genetic Resources taking place from 14-22 February. The move calls into question the legitimacy of the negotiations.

    As delegates were working on a compilation text at the twentieth session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), an Indigenous Peoples representative, speaking on behalf of the International Indigenous Forum, announced the withdrawal from active participation in the IGC.

    In a statement [pdf in English], [pdf in Spanish] that the representative could not read in its entirety in plenary, the group said that Indigenous Peoples have participated as experts in IGC sessions, and worked in good faith. They have, according to the statement, “made efforts over the years to submit to the IGC sessions our collectively developed and sound proposals, which have been ignored or left in brackets in negotiation texts.”

    As the “titleholders, proprietors and ancestral owners of traditional knowledge that is inalienable, nonforfeitable and inherent to the generic resources that we have conserved and utilized in a sustainable manner within our territories,” the group feels that “the discussion on intellectual property rights and genetic resources should include Indigenous Peoples on equal terms with the States since the work will directly impact our lives, our lands, our territories and resources.”

    As a consequence, they said they decided “unanimously, to withdraw our active participation in the work developed by this Committee until the States change the rules of procedure to permit our full and equitable participation at all levels of the IGC.”

    Under the current rules of procedures, Indigenous Peoples have observer status at the IGC. They can make proposals to the negotiations but those proposals have to be endorsed by at least one delegation to be taken into account.

    Participation Being Eroded Gradually, Representatives Say

    In an interview with Intellectual Property Watch, Indigenous Peoples representatives Debra Harry, executive director of the Indigenous Peoples Council on Biocolonalism, and Lucia Fernanda Jófej Kaingáng, the representative of the Instituto Indigena Brasileiro para Propriedade Intelectual (INBRAPI), said that since the beginning of the IGC the Indigenous Peoples’ participation has been narrowed and they have been excluded from key bodies like the “friends of the chair.” In this particular meeting, they were not able to participate in the team of facilitators drafting the negotiating text, they said.

    Most of the textual proposals made by the Indigenous Peoples are not currently included in the present text, they said. The text that was actually taken into account is put forward in a way that does not reflect their original proposal, they added. For example, in Objective 1, paragraph 1.1.1., the current text says: “[including the sovereign rights of [States] nations and peoples, the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as private property rights] in accordance with domestic legislation [in patent applications].” Additions such as “states,” “private property rights,” and “patent applications,” have transformed the original proposal.

    Change of the Rules of Procedure Needed, Indigenous Peoples Say

    According to Harry and Jófej Kaingáng, the WIPO Legal Council told the Indigenous Peoples representatives at the last session that a change in the rules of procedure to allow full and equal participation would require a decision from the WIPO General Assembly. At present, the rules of procedure do not anticipate having Indigenous Peoples take an active part in the IGC, General Assembly or a diplomatic conference to discuss an instrument, they said. “For Indigenous Peoples, it does not make sense to participate in the IGC session but not be able to participate in the final stages of discussion” they said. Indigenous Peoples have been calling for a change in the rules of procedure since the 18th session of the IGC to no avail, they added.

    “Instead, the WIPO Secretariat put forward a draft study [pdf] on the participation of observers in the work of the IGC, including nine proposals, none of which recommends a change in the rules of procedure to increase the participation of Indigenous Peoples or their level of participation,” Harry said. “States need to put forward some language that is asking for a change in the rules of procedures.”

    “Indigenous Peoples participation brings legitimacy to the process and they need to have an effective and equal participation in all levels of the process: drafting groups, friends of the chair group, facilitators committee,” Harry said. Indigenous Peoples have collective rights under the United Nations system and states do not take those rights into account, according to the representatives. “We cannot participate in a process that undermines our rights,” Harry said. “If we cannot have a fair and effective participation, we are essentially participating in a process that will diminish our rights.”

    In Brazil, 15 percent of the national territory belongs to Indigenous Peoples, and this territory is best conserved, said Jófej Kaingáng. “We are owners and holders of GR.” In Brazil, Indigenous Peoples have exclusive rights to use natural resources inside their land, and GRs are natural resources, she said.

    Previously in the week, a representative from Tupac Amaru said that Indigenous Peoples’ proposals are not considered even when they are supported by governments. “We consider this discriminatory,” he said.

    “Some Indigenous Peoples say they have the right to sit beside states that have colonised them,” said Ronald Barnes, who represents the Indian Council of South America (CISA). “Gaps and loopholes are being created that are not going to give us our rights,” he said.

    Indigenous representatives during the week urged negotiators to “keep to the high standards” of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” and other international instruments. WIPO is a UN organisation.

    “States are asserting national sovereignty over genetic resources, but state sovereignty is not absolute,” Harry said. “If the final instrument fails to recognise Indigenous Peoples’ rights, states may become gate keepers on our genetic resources and traditional knowledge and this would undermine our right to self-determination.” This right is inscribed in the international legal framework, for example in the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, she said.

    “If the outcome of this process is reached without our equal participation, we would consider the process to have no bearing on us.” Harry said.

    IGC government delegates’ reaction to the withdrawal of the Indigenous Peoples group was generally one of “regret”, but no suggestions for addressing the concern, for instance by granting them equivalent status in negotiations.

    William New contributed to this story.

    Catherine Saez may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Indigenous delegation, scorned by WIPO, withdraw from genetic resources committee | Deep Green Resistance News Service says:

      [...] Intellectual Property Watch: http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/02/22/indigenous-peoples-walk-out-of-wipo-committee-on-genetic-resource… Share this:TwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

    2. Indigenous delegation, scorned by WIPO, withdraws from genetic resources committee | Deep Green Resistance News Service says:

      [...] Intellectual Property Watch: http://www.ip-watch.org/2012/02/22/indigenous-peoples-walk-out-of-wipo-committee-on-genetic-resource… Share this:TwitterFacebookDiggStumbleUponRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]


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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.

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