SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
Subscribing entitles a reader to complete stories on all topics released as they happen, special features, confidential documents and access to the complete, searchable story archive online back to 2004.
IP-Watch Summer Interns

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

Inside Views

Submit ideas to info [at] ip-watch [dot] ch!

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.

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.


Latest Comments
  • So this is how we mankind will become extinct? No ... »
  • 'Business methods were generally not patentable in... »

  • For IPW Subscribers

    A directory of IP delegates in Geneva. Read more>

    A guide to Geneva-based public health and intellectual property organisations. Read More >


    Monthly Reporter

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter, published from 2004 to January 2011, is a 16-page monthly selection of the most important, updated stories and features, plus the People and News Briefs columns.

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter is available in an online archive on the IP-Watch website, available for IP-Watch Subscribers.

    Access the Monthly Reporter Archive >

    Visually Impaired, Civil Society, Industry Defend Their Stakes In Marrakesh

    Published on 20 June 2013 @ 7:23 pm

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    This week’s World Intellectual Property Organization Marrakesh Diplomatic Conference, anticipated to deliver an international treaty allowing visually impaired people wider access to books, is also an arena where different stakeholders hope to influence the debate. Civil society calls for a practical treaty that really works on the ground, while industry insists that safeguards to protect the integrity of the international copyright laws be included in the treaty.

    WIPO members are in Marrakesh, Morocco this week to negotiate an international treaty on exceptions and limitations to copyright for blind and visually impaired persons.

    For the TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD), “this Treaty is not about balance but instead about correcting the enormous, immoral and historic imbalance between blind persons who are deprived access to culture and education and a publishing industry that already has many laws that protect it, between most sighted persons who can access millions of books and the visually impaired who have been deprived of many of the benefits of the information technology revolution,” the representative said in his opening statement.

    “Over the past few months,” he said “we have heard from industry representatives that allowing blind persons to have easy access reading material on a non-profit basis could ‘severely weaken international copyright law’. Even some EU and US representatives have been carried away by this neurotic paranoia of potential piracy that has never been substantiated by any empirical evidence.”

    Knowledge Ecology International said, in their opening statement, that “There is a disparity between the lofty language in this hall, and the efforts to narrow user rights taking place downstairs, in the closed meeting.” The representative deplored that deaf persons are not part of potential beneficiaries, as well as audiovisual works, due to what he characterized as motion picture lobbying efforts. Exclusions, which he called “shameful for a UN body.”

    He said fair use and fair practices are important for publishers, sighted persons and for blind persons. According to him “there are efforts to expand the 3-step test for blind persons in ways that exceed its scope for sighted persons,” and “efforts to create all sorts of new treaty rules that make the exceptions narrow, complex and difficult and costly to use.”

    Blind Person Explains Hurdle Due to Lack of interoperability

    A representative of the Civil Society Coalition who spoke, said his name is Marcus Low from South Africa, blind since the age of seven. Throughout his life, he said, accessing books has always been a struggle, in particular at university. “I often did not have the books I needed,” he said, preventing him from performing to his full ability.

    “There are things that we can’t fix about disability,” he said, but books are something that can be fixed. In 2013, he went on, accessing books remains a struggle. A few months ago, in the context of his work in public health, he needed to read a book called Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA.

    “I had to search for a very long time” before finding a relatively accessible book, he said. The book he found online could only be read with a particular software, he said. With this software, he met all kind of hurdles such as being unable to quote a paragraph, forcing him to read the same page several times to get to the desired paragraph to be able to quote it.

    “This book was commercially available,” he said, “and I am very concerned that if we set the ball for commercial availability that low we are not really going to solve any problems.” Commercial availability is a key issue under debate at this week’s negotiations.

    “I am firmly of view that we should not have commercial availability in the treaty but if for some reason it is a compromise” that delegates have to make, safeguards need to be built in “to protect people like myself and that could be things like interoperability,” he said. Interoperability means the ability to read text with various devices and various types of software, he explained, which would have solved his problem in the example he used.

    Furthermore, he said “we increasingly see use of audiovisual materials in classrooms and lecture halls, and online learning and yet in the last six months audio materials have disappeared from the treaty.”

    “Why,” he asked, “why should blind people not have access to these new forms of learning? Why?”

    “The treaty has the potential to change my life and the lives of millions of blind people, has the potential to dramatically expand educational and professional prospects, but if becomes as bloated and as weakened as it is threatening to be, it will be of little or of no value.”

    “If that happens Marrakesh will be remembered as our collective failure to do what’s right,” he concluded.

    Bookshare Warns Against Needless Added Costs

    Benetech, which operates Bookshare, a digital platform providing books to visually impaired people, said in its opening statement that the non-profit offers 197,000 books available in the US and that Bookshare servers 250,000 people, mainly in the US but also in 40 other countries.

    “Our library is made possible both by a domestic copyright exception that makes it possible for us to add any book requested by a blind person to our library, as well as strong cooperation with publishers who provide many of their books directly to our library for free, including the rights to serve people in certain other countries,” he said.

    “The digital nature of our work makes it cost effective to serve many people without spending a royal treasury,” he said, explaining “We provide library services in rich countries for US$75 per year per person. In the developing world, we charge roughly US$10 per year, subsidizing this cost in solidarity.”

    “As you devise the treaty, please realize that any procedures that needlessly add costs to the inexpensive provision of accessible books will effectively result in denial of access,” he pleaded. “We don’t want procedures that make providing a book in a developing country to be more expensive than in our home country.”

    Industry Keen on Including Three-Step Test Reference

    The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), in its opening statement said “a simple and clear inclusion of the ‘three-step test’, as expressed in all copyright-related treaties of the past four decades, is the easiest and most effective way to remove any doubt about the treaty’s compatibility with the international copyright framework.”

    The so-called three-step test, which places conditions on the use of exceptions and limitations to copyright, has been widely discussed without conclusive solutions (IPW, WIPO, 14 June 2013).

    IFRRO, as well as other copyright holder representatives, such as the Motion Picture Association, said the treaty should not include “fair use”, which “is not defined in international law.”

    The treaty, IFRRO said, “must not discourage the fairest and fastest route to the widest possible range of accessible works: access provided by authors and publishers…. Exception should only apply where the market fails, and not undermine the practical solutions that are already being explored and implemented in developing as well as in developed countries.”

     

    Catherine Saez 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.

     

     
    Your IP address is 23.20.211.153