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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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    Summertime Changes For IP Policymakers In Geneva

    By Kaitlin Mara
    It’s summertime, and that means many changing faces at the missions and the international organisations in Geneva. Read the latest on the comings and goings of some key IP policymakers.

    Katherine Willcox has joined the Australian permanent mission, replacing Tegan Brink who is leaving to pursue a master of law degree at Columbia University in New York. Willcox, who will be responsible for IP issues in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), is arriving after several years of work at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. She also practiced law in the private sector and holds a masters degree in international law.

    Boumédiene Mahi, of the permanent mission of Algeria to the United Nations, will be leaving at the end of July to the Algerian capital to work in the foreign office. After four years as counsellor in Geneva, Mahi said he was pleased by the positive spirit of Geneva, where interests often diverge but there is mutual respect. He will be in Algiers for one or two years, where he will continue to work on multilateral issues. He will be replaced by someone from the mission, though the final decision has not yet been made.

    Gilles Barrier, first secretary at the permanent mission of France for three and a half years, is leaving the multilateral sphere to take up a position as deputy general counsel at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in Rio de Janeiro. There, he will be working on bilateral activities. Barrier enjoyed his time in Geneva, the “place where we discuss globalisation.”

    Manzoor Ahmad, ambassador from Pakistan to the WTO and head of the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Special Session on an international register for geographical indications, or product names associated with specific places and characteristics, has stepped down from both positions. He is now at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Liaison Office in Geneva.

    Dennis Francis, of Trinidad and Tobago, will take over as the new chair of the WTO Council on TRIPS, beginning with the council’s next meeting in October of this year. Francis has served as Trinidad and Tobago’s ambassador to the WTO for two years.

    Gail Marie Mathurin, Jamaican ambassador to the WTO and current chair of the TRIPS Council, has been called back to Kingston to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

    Rajiv Chander, who previously was serving as the minister for politics and economy at India’s permanent mission in Geneva, will be working on intellectual property issues at the mission.

    Meanwhile, Mohinder S Grover, India’s deputy permanent representative in Geneva, was scheduled to move to Jamaica at the end of July, where he is taking up the post as India’s high commissioner to the island nation. In his role as deputy permanent representative, Grover made important contributions to intellectual property discourse in Geneva, most notably during negotiations on the WIPO Development Agenda and the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC).

    Guilherme Patriota, Minister-Counsellor at the Brazilian Permanent Mission in Geneva, will be leaving in August to take up a similar position at the Brazilian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York. Patriota arrived in Geneva three and a half years ago, and has been a key contributor to Brazil’s strong role in IP negotiations at the WTO, WIPO, and in other multilateral fora.

    Outside Geneva, Margaret Peterlin, deputy undersecretary of Commerce for intellectual property and deputy director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), has stated that she will leave in August to join the private sector. Peterlin joined USPTO in April 2007, and previously served as counsel for legal policy and national security advisor for the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert (Republican, Illinois) and as general counsel to the Majority Leader of the House, Richard Armey (R, Texas). During her tenure at USPTO, Peterlin was involved in working toward reform of the US patent policy, and also was subjected to some debate over her intellectual property credentials for the position.

    Kaitlin Mara can be reached at kmara@ip-watch.ch.

     
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