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IP-Watch Summer Interns

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

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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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    WIPO, EPO Leaders At OECD: Adjust The Patent System For The Globalised, Knowledge-Based Society

    Published on 30 November 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    The international intellectual property rights system must urgently make headway toward an easier-to-use, globally agreed upon, inclusive and effective architecture, a high-level panel of IP policy leaders said on 29 November.

    The panel on “Knowledge Assets and Economic Growth: The Role of Policy” was held at a Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conference on patent statistics. World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry urged that policymakers to “identify the common interest that legitimises a multilateral response.” With regard to the patent system there is a need to develop the political will to tackle the basic conditions of patentability, he said.

    The recent passage of the WIPO Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances and the progress toward an exemption for the visually impaired shows that “it is not impossible to identify the common interest,” Gurry said. “But we have not done that in the area of innovation, technology and patents so far.” He reiterated his concern that there is a “multilateral malaise” and a great diversion into bilateral and plurilateral negotiations at the expense of the multilateral system.

    Yet countries have to engage in discussions about how to adapt the 1970s-style patent system to the globalised knowledge-based economy. The developed countries should, for example, to come to grips about what constitutes novelty.

    “There is no excuse for it not happening now,” Gurry said, referring to the steps to reform of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which WIPO oversees. Among the dangers of not providing adequate answers are patent wars and technology protectionism.

    OECD Deputy Secretary General Richard Boucher, moderating the discussion, pointed to patent “trolls” and patent thickets. “Some are dismayed,” he said, and “I want to make sure that scientists and engineers make more money than lawyers.”

    European Patent Office President Benoît Battistelli underlined patent quality as the foremost task.

    “We do have two million patent applications, but do we really have two million inventions which will change the technological knowledge every year?,” Battistelli asked. “I don’t think so.”

    Patent offices should restrict patents – which gave monopolies for some time, only “to inventions that deserve it,” he said.

    The EPO president said he agreed fully with Gurry that improvement of the WIPO-led Patent Cooperation Treaty is paramount, and some steps have been taken. He also agreed that with regard to the main differences between the US and the European systems (where there is a different concept of novelty) progress can be seen in the recent US patent law changes. “We have to continue in that direction,” said Batistelli.

    The EPO also will foster its work in making patent information more accessible by partnering with the ArabPAT and LatPat document systems. In addition, EPO will start to provide a Chinese-English translation for free, supported by Google technology. With a large part (20 percent) of the state of the art being Chinese, it would become very difficult for engineers, especially in small and medium-sized companies, to decide if they should carry on with a development if translated documents are not available. The machine translation provided is a first step to helping developers to identify relevant texts.

    Starting PCT reform was also said to be a matter of urgency by Jorge Avila, president of the Brazilian Instituto Nacional de Propriedade Industrial (INPI). Avila acknowledged that “patents from everywhere go everywhere and we still [do not have] a PCT that can help us to solve the problem.” Avila pointed out a single measure that would help national patent offices in the short term. The offices, he said, should be eligible to ask for an examination report, as currently the receiving offices cannot ask for such a report, only the applicant can.

    INPI, he assured, would tackle the backlog issue, stemming from continued growth and risen complexity of applied-for technology, by adding staff. Newly passed legislation will soon allow an increase in patent examiners to 750 persons, up from 250 today. Formalising language for applications also will make patent examinations easier, he said.

    Avila in his presentation vividly described the major shift in the perception of the IPR system in Brazil after the 1980s. “Old perceptions of IPR protection” were “very negative,” he said. IPR protection was seen as detrimental due to costs it put on technology transfer or re-engineering. “Global governance” for the knowledge-based environment is a goal of harmonisation efforts.

    Gurry said that developing countries, while having disadvantages in the effort to patent technology, might enter the knowledge market right away with the protection of plant varieties or their cultural goods. To allow for monetising of cultural goods effectively, a functional global digital market place is necessary, however, “and we do not have that.” More issues to be tackled with regard to IPR reform, Gurry said, are to consider the public interest in trade secrets and the reconsider human resource management.

    Monika Ermert may be reached at info@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.

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    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.

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