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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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    Anti-ACTA Protests Expected In Two Dozen Countries; Parliament Opposition Rises

    Published on 8 June 2012 @ 11:07 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    All seems to come down to the numbers on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement: how many protesters will turn up at the ACTA Action Day in Europe tomorrow and how many members of the European Parliament (EP) will vote for it in plenary on 3 July. Without the agreement of Parliament, ACTA will fail, at least in Europe, observers say.

    Anti-ACTA protests have been announced tomorrow for nearly a 120 cities in two dozen countries all over Europe, from Jyväskylä in Finland to Nicosia in Cyprus. The first wave of such protests erupting in February has swept over the ACTA parties like a huge wave and made some politicians turn and look at the controversial agreement with new eyes.

    For a map of the ACTA protests see here.

    ACTA has been negotiated since 2007 between the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and the European Union in an attempt to establish an agreement for the enforcement of intellectual property rights that extends beyond the 1994 World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

    Yet the inclusion of an internet chapter – much rewritten during the process – and the approach of putting all IP rights in a rather badly compartmentalised basket, led to growing protests not only from civil society groups, software developers and public health organisations, but also from ordinary citizens. Academics in many countries warned of a lack of clarity in the provisions, a lack of balance between the IP rights holders and users, and a lack of redress and due process provisions.

    Meanwhile, four committees of the European Parliament recently voted for a rejection of ACTA, and the lead committee will make its decision on 21 June and forward its recommendation to the Parliament plenary for the first reading on 3 July. A majority in favour is rather unlikely, Niccolo Rinaldi from the Liberal Party Group in the EP (ALDE) said in an exchange with Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstroem, posted by journalist Jennifer Baker. “It ain’t over til it’s over,” warned Engstroem.

    This is also what the activists calling for the protests tomorrow seem to think. After months of pulling the ACTA text apart for its flaws, they now turn to “prayers”. But the activists point to Joe McNamee of the European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi) for the “math” of where ACTA stands in the graces of Parliament members in Brussels. “Only 175 MEPs have so far had the opportunity to vote (in the four committees) and just 56 per cent actively voted against ACTA,” McNamee wrote in an EDRi blogpost.

    The Parliament Development Committee rejected ACTA by 19 votes to one, with three abstentions, according to EP information. A much closer vote against ACTA was taken by the Industry Committee (31 to 25), and in the Legal Committee 12 to 10 rejected the rapporteur’s proposal to adopt ACTA. The agreement was clearly rejected in the Civil Liberties Committee (36 against 1, but with as many as 21 abstentions). According to EDRi observations, many members of the largest group, the European People’s Party, were still favouring ACTA.

    The plenary in fact is not bound by the committee votes, neither the four taken nor the one by the lead committee, INTA (International Trade).

    A rejection by the plenary, on the other hand, even if close, would be a deadly blow to the agreement, activists think. Parties agree, McNamee wrote to Intellectual Property Watch, that “ACTA couldn’t survive without the EU.”

    John Clancy, spokesperson for EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht, pointed out to Intellectual Property Watch again that ACTA would “enter into force for those countries that deposit their instrument of ratification once six parties of ACTA will have handed in their ratification.” On the status of the ratification of the signatories he said he was unaware.

    A request to Intellectual Property Affairs Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, which is administering the ratification process, has not yet been answered. The ACTA website of the ministry has not been updated with respective news.

    How much influence the ACTA protests and the ACTA rumblings in the EU had, might be illustrated by the hesitancy of the Swiss government to even sign the agreement for the time being.

    In many ways, ACTA has become a much bigger issue than ACTA itself by now. It is another test for the European Parliament to stand up against an agreement that has been negotiated very much behind closed doors – the Parliament did not dare to say no to earlier similar cases, like the handover of passenger name records to the US.

    ACTA, according to McNamee, is yet another example of the “growing danger of privatised law enforcement.”

    “ACTA,” he said, “is a strategically insane proposal [to] create a binding legal obligation on the USA to require the US authorities to encourage the domain name registries, search engines, payment providers and other companies based there to undertake privatised enforcement measures.”

    In the end, the anti-ACTA protests have shown the power of growing digital rights movements, even if the anti-ACTA protesters marching Saturday are still some steps away from bringing ACTA down.

    Monika Ermert may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


    Leave a Reply

    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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