An Interview With WIPO Director General Francis Gurry On The New Lisbon Act For GIs

WIPO DG Francis Gurry

Members of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration on 20 May agreed on a new Act of the agreement, extending protection previously granted only to appellations of origins to geographical indications. The World Intellectual Property Organization is responsible for this agreement. After the signing ceremony at WIPO, Intellectual Property Watch sat down with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry to discuss the new Act.

Statement: Blumenthal Offers Amendment On Trade Transparency

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Senators Blumenthal, Brown, Baldwin, and Udall introduced today a trade negotiation transparency bill that would require that all formal U.S. proposals for trade agreement restrictions on domestic regulations be posted on a website. This is a common sense policy that should be broadly supported. The bill would require policies similar to the transparency policies currently followed by the European Union and by intergovernmental organizations that set similar minimum regulatory standards. But it would be a major change in the current process for trade negotiations followed by the U.S. Trade Representative, which are infamously secretive, write Sean Flynn and David Levine.

US Ponders New Trademark Rights For Racial Slurs

The Slants

Some words are too offensive to be registered trademarks. Racial slurs, derogatory names for ethnic groups, and other terms that disparage people can be denied registration, according to the vast majority of countries. The US, however, might soon back away from this anti-bigotry stance. The nation’s courts may be on the verge of ruling that the registration of derogatory terms is protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech.

Ebola R&D, Antibiotic Resistance, Neglected Diseases Among Issues At This Year’s World Health Assembly

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The annual World Health Assembly opens next week with a focus on antimicrobial resistance, the Ebola outbreak, and research and development. Other subject of interests will be World Health Organization engagement with outside stakeholders, such as non-governmental organisations and the private sector, and a potential pooled fund for research and development for neglected diseases.

Q&A With US On Concerns About Lisbon GI Treaty Negotiation

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Next week, the 28 members of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization are expected to conduct a high-level negotiating meeting to agree on a new Act of the agreement. Major changes expected are the inclusion of geographical indications in the agreement, and the possibility for intergovernmental organisations such as the European Union to become members of the revised agreement.

The United States has been among the leading countries concerned about the negotiation. In a Q&A, the US in written answers explained the concerns. The questions were sent by Intellectual Property Watch’s Catherine Saez.

Dissecting The “Internet Freedom” Agenda

Real Cyber War cover

Both radical civil society organizations and mainstream defenders of the status quo agree that the free and open internet is threatened: see for example the Delhi Declaration, Bob Hinden’s 2014 Year End Thoughts, and Kathy Brown’s March 2015 statement at a UNESCO conference. The threats include government censorship and mass surveillance, but also the failure of governments to control rampant industry concentration and commercial exploitation of personal data, which increasingly takes the form of providing “free” services in exchange for personal information that is resold at a profit, or used to provide targeted advertising, also at a profit, Richard Hill writes in a review of the new book, The Real Cyber War: The Political Economy of Internet Freedom.

Q&A With The EU On The Benefits Of Amending The Lisbon Agreement

EU GIs

Next week, the 28 members of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and their International Registration administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization are expected to conduct a high-level negotiating meeting to agree on a new Act of the agreement. Major changes expected are the inclusion of geographical indications in the agreement, and the possibility for international organisations such as the European Union to become members of the revised agreement.

Philanthropies And Expression: An Interview With Ford Foundation President Darren Walker

Darren Walker

Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, one of the largest and historically most influential private philanthropies in the United States, dedicated to human welfare worldwide. Among its areas of focus are programs on freedom of expression and internet rights, extremely timely given current national and global events. Ford, along with four other leading foundations, and leaders from government, business and the technology community recently announced NetGain, a partnership to “spark the next generation of innovation for social change and progress.” Intellectual Property Watch’s William New recently interviewed Darren Walker on his vision for the foundation, internet governance, and the world at large.

Divide And Conquer: The New US Strategy To Disentangle The TPP Negotiations

Public Citizen TPP ISDS

Burcu Kilic & Pablo Viollier write: Political leaders in Washington and other Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating countries have set the end of May as the latest deadline for completion of the talks. The negotiations have already missed several such deadlines, so who really knows? No one. But there is something we all know: TPP raises significant concerns because negotiations are being held behind closed doors with details kept secret even from the legislatures in TPP countries.

A Look At The Huge Upswing In China Patent Filings

Chinese patent

By Michael Sneddon While China’s reputation for producing imitations of everything from cars to computers continues to linger, it doesn’t appear to be a deterrent for foreign corporations as they increasingly seek protection for their innovations. In fact, according to the 2014 edition of the World Intellectual Property Indicators, for the third year, China’s State […]