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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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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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    UN Agencies To Examine International Standards, Potential Value For Developing Countries

    Published on 18 March 2013 @ 5:57 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    Five United Nations agencies are joining efforts to tackle the rising issue of private standards which they say are affecting developing countries’ exports by creating market entry hurdles for those countries. A new forum will be launched this week, and will establish priority issues.

    The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) will be launched during a two-day conference, from 21-22 March in Geneva. The UNFSS is co-sponsored by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

    Voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) are developed by commercial and non-commercial private entities and apply in particular to the areas of health, safety, environment, social welfare, and animal welfare.

    The multiplicity of those standards, which are not in nature mandatory but can set too high a threshold for small producers, can be of key importance for market entry, according to the UNFSS. The platform proposes to be an information and analysis of VSS platform with a particular focus on the potential value of VSS as a development tools for developing countries.

    VSS, also called private standards, come with a set of challenge, according to a UNFSS presentation, such as “the risk of being used as anti-competitive instruments for achieving vested commercial interests,” their lack of interoperability leading to substantive compliance costs, and the complexity of some standards which can increase the marginalisation of smallholders and less developed countries.

    There are also concerns about VSS undermining the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) agreement and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, according to the UNFSS. The forum was introduced at a TBT Committee meeting held on 5-7 March during which the issue of standards was discussed, with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) describing efforts to develop international standards in line with WTO principles.

    According to the UNFSS website, with a lack of consensus in the TBT and SPS, “to systematically discuss developing country concerns on private standards, developing countries urged UNCTAD for more engagement, information and analysis.”

    All five agencies have longstanding mandates on private standards, Ulrich Hoffmann, senior trade policy adviser in the UNCTAD Division on International Trade and Commodities, told Intellectual Property Watch. But the UNFSS is “throwing everything into one bowl” to have a consistent approach to VSS, he said.

    Market-Shaping Tools with an IP Flavour

    Standards are very effective market-shaping tools, and they improve the position of some players in the market, Hoffman said. The more complex the standards, the less producers can meet them, he said, and dominant market players, equipped with quality management departments, tend to create more and more complex standards.

    Certain use of standards can be compared to trademarks or patents, he said, in terms of market access, and they can create an anti-competitive behaviour. Large international retailers through standards can have “enormous power over producers,” said Hoffamn.

    According to the UNFSS presentation, VSS should be scrutinised so that they are proportionate to the risk they claim to address, that they are scientifically-based, and that the burden of compliance is distributed fairly. They should not, the document says, “undermine or weaken rules of TBT and SPS agreements.”

    Most standards are private, according to several sources, and most of them are proprietary, said Hoffman. According to the ISO, standards are strategic tools for business “that reduce costs by minimising waste and errors and increasing productivity. … They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade.”

    ISO standards are protected by copyright and belong to ISO, Rob Steele, secretary general of the organisation, told Intellectual Property Watch last year (IPW, Access to knowledge, 18 May 2012).

    The copyright protection, “helps us to promulgate the standard so people know that there is a clear copyright associated” with our standards. And more importantly, he said at the time, “it also allows us to update our standards because in many cases technologies are moving along and our standards need to be reviewed and updated. We review and update our standards at least every five to seven years and we must have the opportunity and the right to do that.”

    The preliminary agenda for the launching conference, which is open for registration, is here.

     

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

     

    Comments

    1. The Consumers Eye Pakistan says:

      The Consumers Eye Pakistan support and apreciates UN Agencies To Examine International Standards, Potential Value For Developing Countries.The Consumers Eye Pakistan (TCEP) is a non profit registered social welfare organization (NGO), a member of “PAKISTAN CONSUMERS’ FEDERATION” the apex consumers’ body of Pakistan, for the protection of Consumer rights in Pakistan, TCEP is working since 2005. The Consumers Eye Pakistan’s vision is a world where everyone has access to safe and sustainable goods and services. TCEP’s is working to put the rights of consumers at the heart of decision-making. The Consumers Eye Pakistan host seminars and events especially on occasion of World Consumer Rights Day & World Standards Day every year with the collaboration of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) Ministry of Science and Technology Government of Pakistan and other NGO’s organizations related to consumer rights protection, to create consumer awareness against unregistered, Substandard, Adulterated and counterfeit Products and Services in Pakistan. The Consumers Eye Pakistan cooperates with Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) to promote Quality Standard Culture in Pakistan. TCEP is actively involved with PSQCA in improving quality and standards of the citizens by advocating accountability and code of conduct in government and society to promote standardization and Quality consciousness culture in Pakistan for the benefit of consumers. The Consumers Eye Pakistan represents consumers in Standards developing technical committees of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA). TCEP’s representatives have been going with the PSQCA raiding Task force team to check products quality standards in open markets/ Bazaars/ Stores and super stores as an independent observer. The Consumers Eye Pakistan campaigns on the domestic and international issues that matter to consumers. TCEP seeks to hold corporations to account and demands government action to put consumer concerns first, acting as watchdog. The Consumers Eye Pakistan also organizes workshops, seminars, walks and colloquiums throughout the Pakistan, bringing together people from different sections of the society, including politicians, economists, and experts from related fields, to create awareness and build opinion on nationally important issues that matters consumers. Carrying out studies and researches on various issues related to Consumers and consumables. TCEP publish material for consumer awareness in Pakistan. The Consumers Eye Pakistan campaign to end the menace and create awareness among the people regarding the consumer rights; it includes adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education and safe drinking water in Pakistan. The Consumers Eye Pakistan campaigning against any behavior that threatens ignores or abuses the principles of consumer protection with the aim of getting every Pakistani consumer a fairer deal to put the rights of consumers at the heart of decision-making. TCEP’s goal is a world where everyone access to safe and sustainable goods and services. TCEP’s main objective is to protect the interests of the consumer, making the consumer conscious of the malpractices perpetuated in the marketplace. The Consumers Eye Pakistan introduced an annual series of awards “Quality-Standard Award” in 2010 to appreciate for the highly valuable Products and services in Pakistan. This program has the official collaboration of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority Ministry of Science and technology (Government of Pakistan) also have support of other organizations. Quality Standard Award is to develop a relationship of trust among consumers, producers and service providers in Pakistan. Quality-Standard Award honors the most respected companies have ISO/ PSQCA Certification and consumer trust, Maintaining Quality Standards for their Products and Services, whose accomplishments have made significant differences to the remarkable growth and development of Pakistan economy. The Consumers Eye Pakistan formed to protect and educate consumers, represent them on all forums, and make sure that consumer goods and services are given highest priority for the benefits of consumers. The Consumer Eye Pakistan is working to build a better Pakistan. “We believe that better work with commitment and honesty can improve people’s lives.”


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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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