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IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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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.

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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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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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    No Deal For Now On WIPO Design Treaty, Patent Law Work Plan

    Published on 8 October 2012 @ 11:10 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    Members of the World Intellectual Property Organization this week could not agree on a work plan for the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), leading to a likely postponement of the next committee meeting. In addition, the annual WIPO General Assemblies failed to agree to hold a diplomatic conference on a Design Law Treaty, but did agree on an expedited way forward. And the Assemblies took note of the work of the committees on standards and enforcement.

    The 1-9 October 50th annual WIPO Assemblies will conclude tomorrow at 4:00 pm. Assemblies documents are available here.

    There appeared to be a sense of disappointment, or perhaps just exhaustion, in the room tonight after daylong informal negotiations could not bring a decision to hold a diplomatic conference (high-level final negotiations) on a Design Law Treaty intended to simplify procedures for use.

    The negotiations did bring a detailed agreement [pdf] on the way forward, however. The four paragraph agreement says the General Assembly “urges the SCT to expedite in a committed manner work with a view to advance substantially the basic proposals for a Design Law Treaty.” The SCT is the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications.

    The agreement carefully states that “consideration will be given to include appropriate provisions” on technical assistance for developing countries.

    And it says that the 2013 Assembly will “take stock of and consider the text, progress made, and decide on convening a diplomatic conference.”

    The agreement also said the Assembly takes note of chair’s summary from the last meeting of the SCT, which took place last month (IPW, WIPO, 21 September 2012).

    The European Union, which holds a high number of industrial designs, was a key proponent of the treaty, according to sources. But developing countries were concerned about advancing too quickly toward a treaty in an area in which they are still learning to participate.

    A developing country delegate said afterward that the EU made a proposal late in the weeklong meeting for the Assemblies to agree to hold a diplomatic conference next year, which was met with suspicion and blocked.

    “This is the punch line,” the developing country delegate said about the delay of a decision on the high-level conference. “They were trying to sneak in a treaty on industrial design on Friday at five pm.”

    The concern, the delegate said, is that some countries file thousands of design applications while others have as little as one. “There is a need for capacity building,” the delegate said.

    A delegate from an Asian country in which designs are popular said afterward the outcome was disappointing, and that the treaty would actually benefit developing countries and least developed countries most. It is a tool to mobilise human resources, he said. It might also be used with traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, and small and medium-sized enterprises can use them because they are easier to file.

    A study on the potential impact of the work of the SCT (SCT/27/4) was published in July and provides support for developing countries gaining significant benefit from advances in design procedures.

    After the General Assembly chair read out the decision, no floor statements were allowed as it was already well into the evening. But written statements can be submitted for up to two months from now and will be included in the official report of the meeting, he said.

    Non-Substantive Patent Law

    Meanwhile, the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) appears to be heading for a delay of its late November meeting while members hold consultations on future work.

    The Assembly took note of the report of the committee, which met twice over the past year. The WIPO director general will make the ultimate decision on whether to postpone the next SCP, according to WIPO sources. Dates in early spring, around February or March, are being looked at. There could be one or two consultations in the interim. A format has not yet been discussed.

    Developed countries, which hold the majority of patents – and whose industries and lawyers pay the majority of WIPO’s budget through fees for services – expressed disappointment and regret at the inability to discuss substantive patent law issues.

    Developing countries, meanwhile, continued to insist that the committee must pursue development-oriented issues such as public health, technology transfer, and limitations and exceptions.

    The SCP became contentious several years ago when developing countries rose up to fight efforts to harmonise national patent laws, which they viewed as disadvantageous to them. Member states were gingerly coaxed back into the committee in 2010, but it has had a difficult time moving forward on a work plan.

    The latest meeting, held in May of this year, ended without agreement on future work (IPW, WIPO, 26 May 2012).

    The United States on behalf of the Group B developed countries said in the plenary this week that the mandate of the SCP is to serve as the forum for discussions of substantive patent law, toward substantive patent harmonisation.

    The European Union also said it was disappointed with the results of the SCP. The group worked actively to move the agenda forward it said, but announced “with considerable regret” that it would propose the postponement of the next meeting. Japan also said it was “greatly regrettable.”

    The United States said it “deeply regrets” that the SCP failed to agree on a work programme, and questioned the model of the committee itself, that is “heavily tilted toward the erosion of patents” through limitations and exceptions and other measures.

    As the committee will not have a substantive patent programme, the US supported the postponement.

    Hungary on behalf of the Central European and Baltic States echoed the point that the group was disappointed, as the goal of the committee is the strengthening and functioning of the international patent system.

    Meanwhile, Egypt on behalf the African Group reiterated the need for a balanced agenda in the committee.

    Brazil on behalf of the Development Agenda Group said that the expansion to a more balanced agenda has contributed to a more complete understanding of the patent system. India made a similar statement.

    Iran said WIPO could help countries understand how to put limitations and exceptions in place.

    Non-governmental organisation Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) expressed disappointment too, as it hopes for progress on IP rights and public health. It called a US proposal from the 17th session (December 2011) “a step backward” that would “undermine” access to medicines and public health. Among other things, MSF suggested that WIPO consider a database of all medicines and systems for procurers to identify all active patents in countries.

    NGO Knowledge Ecology International also attacked the US proposal on public health, calling it “appalling,” and urging support for an alternative African Group proposal. KEI also said it would be useful to have a better understanding of the costs of litigating weak patent claims, and that the SCP could have a model law or other approach for revoking patents.

    Standards Committee: Technical or Political?

    Two areas of top-shelf importance to developed nations – standards and enforcement – are at WIPO relegated to a small role.

    The WIPO Committee on Standards was slow getting out of the starting blocks, and still has issues to work out, but seems to be starting to make some progress. For instance, it approved a “roadmap” for the development of WIPO Standards dealing with XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and adopted a new WIPO Standard ST.96 for the use of XML. It also has been working on other standards related to issues such as trademark digital image formats and colour management, and nucleotide and amino acid sequence listings.

    One issue slowing progress of the CWS is a debate over whether it is answerable to the coordination mechanism of the WIPO Development Agenda.

    Developed countries say the committee is highly technical and therefore cannot be easily held up to scrutiny in relation to development. One official told Intellectual Property Watch that developed countries also feel that not every single committee in WIPO must be subjected to the Development Agenda, as the wording in the original is “relevant” committees, suggesting that some may not be.

    Group B developed countries said this week that they remain “unconvinced” that the CWS should be under the Development Agenda, and suggested consultations to address those issues so that the technical experts of the committee could focus on their work.

    But the report of the CWS contains discussion of technical assistance, which automatically opens it up to developing country interest.

    It reported on its work in “narrowing the technology knowledge gap and improving access to technical knowledge.”

    Mentioned frequently during the Assemblies were the signing by developing countries of Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISCs), as well as other programmes. TISCs “provide innovators with access to locally based, high quality technology information services and other related services,” the CWS report from its 30 April to 4 May meeting said.

    As an example, Uganda today signed a TISC, and joined the Beijing Treaty on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances.

    Committee on Enforcement

    Lastly among the “other committees” is the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE). It was in the past agreed that WIPO does not have norm-setting authority on IP enforcement, but it can discuss the issue, which is of major importance to countries with lots of IP rights.

    The next meeting of the ACE, to be held on 19-20 December, is expected to discuss future work of the committee.

    Group B developed countries in their plenary statement called the committee “a valuable forum for exchanging information,” and said it should be remembered that global IP rights infringement is “a global problem.”

    A superficial approach to stopping infringement risks abuse of IP rights and interference with commerce, and effective solutions favour social benefits, including the promotion of innovation and development, the group said.

    The European Union said IP rights are key assets for companies so it is important that effective measures are in place to protect them. The EU said it is “widely recognised” that organised infringement and counterfeiting are a threat to businesses and is a global phenomenon.

    The group urged the ACE to expand it the understanding of the impact of infringement so that a strategy can be developed.

    William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

     


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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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