African IP Body Steps Up Regional Effort To Adopt Plant Protection Protocol

Sorghum - Flickr -  Cyndy Sims Parr

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), with the help of the United States and an international plant variety organisation, is working to grow regional support for a controversial draft law. The draft protocol would boost protection for new plant varieties, despite concerns of local civil society that it would not be in the best interest of ARIPO members’ food security due to its potential impact on small farmers. ARIPO held a regional workshop on the issue in recent weeks in part to build support for a treaty negotiation to lock in these protections.

Global Differences On Patents Lead WIPO Patent Law Committee To Stumble On Future Work

WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents

Once again, differences over the role of a World Intellectual Property Organization committee last week came in the way of consensus and prevented delegates from agreeing on future work. At the heart of the discontent was the perceived imbalance of the proposed programme of work, which some said disregarded the interests of developing countries. A speaker for the African region gave a striking speech on the Ebola crisis as an example of the failure of the patent system.

Expect Strong IP Push From Global Pharma Industry Next Year; WHO Prescribes Dose Of Reality

Medicines - FLickr - Nina Matthews

NEW YORK – Strong intellectual property rights will be a top priority for the pharmaceutical industry internationally in the coming year and arguments over IPRs versus medicines access are false, a top representative said at a high-level industry event this week. But views at the event differed on expectations of industry in light of the Ebola crisis, hepatitis C drug costs or other medicines access questions.

WHO Ebola Vaccine Meeting Draws Commitment From Pharma, Donors; MSF Sees Need For Concrete Actions

Ebola Vaccine - Flickr - NIAID

A high-level meeting convened by the World Health Organization yesterday on the issue of access to and financing of Ebola vaccines resulted in a set of commitments, though not with sufficient urgency for those working on the ground. The pharmaceutical industry committed to scale up production, while donors pledged funds without disclosing how deep their pockets might be.

This Week’s Vote Will Show Who Finnish MPs Listen To On Copyright, EFFi Says

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On 24 October, the Finnish Parliament is expected to vote on the Citizens’ Initiative for Common Sense for Copyright Act, which aims to make Finnish copyright law more user-oriented. But with a proposal to gut the Act, a counter-proposal to save it, and unprecedented lobbying expected, the next two days should be interesting, writes Electronic Frontier Finland.

Ebola Vaccine Candidates Centre Of Attention; Clinical Trials, IP Negotiations Start

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Today, the World Health Organization gave a press briefing to update journalists on what to expect in the near future on Ebola treatments and vaccines.

Review of “Digital Depression: Information Technology And Economic Crisis”

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Information and communication technologies (ICTs), and in particular the internet, have revolutionized and disrupted all aspects of human activity, and even behaviour. This has resulted in many academic publications and much discussion, including in intergovernmental bodies, regarding various issues, including how best to govern the internet.

Dan Schiller’s book helps us to understand the background of these events, which have affected economic and political power relations, and how US policies have consistently favoured capital over labour, and have resulted in transfers of vast sums from developing countries to developed countries, writes Richard Hill.

USTR’s Investigations On IP Rights Against India: Is There A Tenable Case?

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On 14 October, the US Trade Representative (USTR) began the out-of-cycle review (OCR) of India’s intellectual property (IP) laws, the mandate which it gave itself in the 2014 Special 301 Report. Like several years in the past, the USTR once again included India in the Priority Watch List, but this time, India’s IP laws are being subjected to the additional scrutiny through an OCR. It is to be seen whether the OCR sets the stage for naming India as a Priority Foreign Country, viewed by the USTR as worst offender of intellectual property rights, in the next Special 301 report. USTR’s inclusion of India for the OCR was a reflection of the influence that the domestic lobbies have on the country’s engagement with its partner countries, and about USTR’s consistency with World Trade Organization rules, writes Biswajit Dhar.

The TPP’s New Plant-Related Intellectual Property Provisions

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The newly-released Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) intellectual property (IP) chapter would help seed conglomerates like Monsanto prevent farmers from saving and using seeds that contain patented plant materials, even when such use is for their own personal consumption. The TPP language would also prevent breeders from using plants seeds that contain patented plant materials to research and develop new varieties. Most plant variety protection (PVP) systems allow farmers to save and reuse seeds (for noncommercial purposes) and permit breeders to use protected plant varieties to research and develop new varieties. In contrast, patents on plant-related inventions, as outlined in the TPP, may have few exceptions. This new text constitutes a huge step in the wrong direction, changing the plant IP regimes of many of the negotiating countries to the detriment of their populations, writes Public Citizen.

Leaked TPP Draft Reveals Extreme Rights Holder Position Of US, Japan, Outraged Observers Say

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Critics poring over a newly leaked alleged draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) intellectual property chapter say it shows the United States is taking an all-out lurch toward greater protection and less access, causing outrage among public interest groups.