The latest briefs from the IP community
The World Intellectual Property Organization has posted a tribute to legendary American folk singer, songwriter and activist Pete Seeger, who died on 27 January at the age of 94.
At the start of this week’s meeting of the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC), WIPO recalled Seeger’s remarks to the committee in 2006.
His ideas were presented to the committee “built upon Seegerâ€™s then-novel ideas for a United Nations Public Domain Commission to share royalties of copyrighted folk songs with the ‘place and people where the song originated’,” WIPO said in its tribute. At WIPO, he advocated for indigenous and local communities to have more control over their traditional resources.
Seeger had a profound impact on American culture and on the rights of average citizens and workers over his long career. Along with group The Weavers, he sang and wrote a range of core American folk songs.
Following news reports that British pharmaceutical producer AstraZeneca will end its spending on early stage research and development for tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res issued a statement saying the move is further proof that substantive change to the global pharmaceutical R&D system is needed.
MSF said the move by AstraZeneca, as well as the recent quote of a Bayer executive that the company produced a cancer drug for “western patients who can afford it,” in fact “only serve to confirm that multinational pharmaceutical companies are ignoring the medical needs of the poor and are pouring their R&D into diseases that primarily affect rich countries.”
“This move by AstraZeneca is incredibly discouraging and is very bad news for people in developing countries,” Manica Balasegaram, executive director of MSF Access campaign said in a release. “AstraZeneca are just cementing big pharma’s reputation that they invest in drugs only for rich countries. The company’s decision plainly shows how the entire pharmaceutical research and development system is broken and needs urgent fixing.”
The problem is that companies lack a profit incentive in these drugs primarily afflicting developing countries, she said.
The MSF release is available here.
Alternative financing mechanisms for neglected diseases have been a subject of debate at the World Health Organization, most recently last week’s WHO Executive Board meeting (IPW, WHO, 25 January 2013).
In the annual State of the Union speech of the United States president to Congress last night, President Obama described an innovation race, and highlighted the importance of trade agreements and passage of patent reform legislation.
“China and Europe arenâ€™t standing on the sidelines; and neither, neither should we,” Obama said. “We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender.”
“Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones,” he said. “And thatâ€™s why Congress should undo the damage done by last yearâ€™s cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery.”
“There are entire industries to be built based on vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria or paper-thin material thatâ€™s stronger than steel,” he continued. “And letâ€™s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation.”
The Obama administration has put forward a bill aimed at curbing the practices of patent assertion entities, or patent “trolls”.
On trade, Obama pitched it in relation to small businesses rather than the corporations that stand to gain. He referenced the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Europe, as well as renewal of fast-track trade promotion authority in which Congress limits itself to an up-or-down vote on trade agreements negotiated by the administration.
“Letâ€™s do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in America,” he said. “Over the past five years, my administration has made more loans to small business owners than any other. And when 98 percent of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create even more jobs. We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers, protect our environment and open new markets to new goods stamped ‘Made in the USA.’”
The video and text of the speech are available from the New York Times, here.
European Union Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht today announced a three-month public consultation on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), between the EU and United States.
The commissioner was reacting to what he called â€œgenuine concerns about this part of the EU-US deal,â€ and he acknowledged that in practice earlier ISDS mechanisms had been â€œallowing companies to exploit loopholes where the legal text has been vague.â€
The Commission will publish a consultation paper in March explaining the issues and proposals for how the controversial ISDS might be improved.
Improvements advertised by the Commission so far include explicit references in the TTIP ISDS chapter â€œto states’ right to regulate in the public’s interest. It would also see new and improved rules, including a code of conduct, to ensure arbitrators are chosen fairly and act impartially, and to open up their proceedings to the publicâ€, the press release reads.
“Governments must always be free to regulate so they can protect people and the environment,â€ said de Gucht. â€œBut they must also find the right balance and treat investors fairly, so they can attract investment. International investment agreements like TTIP should ensure they do both.â€
The spokesperson for de Gucht, John Clancy, told Intellectual Property Watch following the release that there would be a â€œpause or ‘time out’â€ on the investment chapter which included the section on ISDS allowing for the consultation and subsequent analysis of it. TTIP negotiations on all other issues would continue.
Representatives from NGOs welcomed the announcement. â€œYes, we see this as a result of considerable public pressure from civil society and some politicians,â€ said Alessa Hartmann, coordinator of the NGO alliance â€œTTIPunfairHandelbar.â€
But the NGO representatives do harbour no illusions about the meaning of the move. It was no more than a first stage victory in the fight about the TTIP. Hartmann re-iterated the request for complete access to trade negotiation documents.
In February, De Gucht and US Trade Representative Michal Froman are expected to join for what has so far been said would be the mid-term review of the highly complex TTIP negotiations.
The Quaker UN Office in Geneva has announced two new publications on intellectual property, agriculture, food and biological diversity.
The briefing papers look at alternatives in India and Thailand to plant variety protection (PVP) systems styled after UPOV, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, which implements an intellectual property system over new plant varieties.
The reports are available on the QUNO website, here.
“Many intellectual property professionals believe that a country must join UPOV 1991 in order to comply with WTO intellectual property obligations. This is not the case,” says QUNO.
The purpose of the new publications is “to encourage and support countries wishing to develop a PVP system suited to their own specific needs, tailored in particular to their agriculture, food security, innovation and economic development priorities.”
QUNO is also planning to shortly issue a briefing paper on the PVP flexibilities currently available to specific WTO members, it said.
The papers are part of QUNOâ€™s work on food & sustainability, which it said “aims to promote informed, balanced and thoughtful discussion about what agricultural systems are best suited to different circumstances and needs.”
A 12-year-old World Health Organization programme for prequalifying medical products has helped international organisations and others to safely purchase billions of US dollars’ worth of quality medicines per year, but now is at risk due to funding shortages, a new study released today found.
The academic study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, was written by four international public health experts and calls for more sustainable funding by urging governments and private donors to contribute. Among the authors is Ellen â€˜t Hoen, a consultant who is well-known in policy circles for her work as past head of the Medicines Patent Pool and at MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res (MSF, Doctors without Borders).
The WHO Prequalification Programme “helps ensure that these medicines meet acceptable standards of quality, safety and efficacy,” according to a press release promoting the study.
â€œWe have found that this programme is effective, and saves money both directly and indirectly,” ‘t Hoen said in the release. “Every dollar invested in the programme saves $170 in public medicine procurement. But 80-90% of the organisationâ€™s funding comes from just two organisations â€“ UNITAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).”
She said there is a need for a “consortium of public and private global health donors to create a sustainable funding model and ensure that the medicines we distribute in developing countries work.â€
Since 2000, the programme has expanded from low-cost generics to cover: Essential medicines for reproductive health, diarrhoea, and neglected tropical diseases: quality control laboratories; active pharmaceutical ingredients; review of clinical research used to prove that generic medicines are as good as the branded versions; and capacity of medicines regulators and pharmaceutical manufacturers in developing countries of Africa and Asia, the release said.
March 19-20, 2014 â€“ Affinia Manhattan â€“ New York City â€“ www.worldcongress.com/corporateIP
Optimize your IP portfolio.Â In this cross-industry event, the most timely and critical issues will be discussed and analyzed by senior counsel from Bank of America, General Mills, Honeywell, IBM, MLB Advanced Media, MasterCard, S.C. Johnson, and more; providing insight and strategies to help you tackle the latest challenges in IP.
IP-Watch Reader Discount: when reserving your seat, use promo code IPW200 to take $200.00 off the current registration fee.Â
A new regulation on the enforcement of intellectual property rights took effect in the European Union on 1 January, strengthening enforcement and extending the range of rights protected, according to a legal analysis.
The analysis, published by Lexology, is available here and reposted below:
New year, new regulation: customs enforcement of IPR
- CMS Cameron McKenna
- European Union
- January 6 2014
In October last year, as part of our analysis of EU customs detention statistics, we reported on the key changes which the New Regulation introduces (please click here).
In brief, the New Regulation provides customs authorities with extended powers to detain counterfeit or pirated goods at EU borders. Some of the key changes include an extension of the range of intellectual property rights which are afforded protection, the introduction of new rules concerning small consignments and making the simplified procedure for the detention and destruction of goods compulsory for all Member States.
Rightsholders would be advised to consider filing a new Application for Action, notwithstanding the fact that their existing Application may not have expired. This would enable rightsholders to take advantage of the new small consignments provisions and the extended protection for various types of intellectual property right.
The State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) has a new commissioner, Shen Changyu. And the World Intellectual Property Organization wasted no time in meeting with him. China was approved last month to receive a new WIPO office (IPW, WIPO, 13 December 2013).
Shen succeeds Tian Lipu, who had been commissioner since 2005. Shen was previously president of the Dalian University of Technology, according to information sources in English. He holds a PhD in engineering from Dalian, has a background in national research projects and academia, as well as at SIPO. He is 50 years old.
The official notice of his appointment is available here (in Chinese).
China’s influence at WIPO has been growing in recent years, at it has been one of the busiest and fastest-growing offices. It represents a regional group at WIPO all by itself, the only nation to do so.
Shen met this week with Wang Binying, who as deputy director general in charge of the Brands and Designs Sector is the highest-ever ranking Chinese official at WIPO. There are four total deputy directors general at WIPO.
Photo courtesy of SIPO
A recently released book titled, “The Research Handbook on Intellectual Property Licensing,” explores the complexities of intellectual property licensing law from a comparative perspective through the opinions of leading experts.
The handbook is edited by Jacques de Werra, Professor of Contract Law and Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the University of Geneva Law School.
Contributors include: M. Anderson, P. Beyer, L. Brennan, P. de Miguel Asensio, J. de Werra, F. Dessemontet, J. Dodd, J.C. Ginsburg, H. Goddar, R.W. Gomulkiewicz, R.A. Hillman, J. Hull, N. Krishnamurthy, R.T. Nimmer, M.A. Oâ€™Rourke, M. Reutter, A. Strowel, S. Teramoto, B. Vanbrabant, N. Wilkof, and H. Xue.
The publisher states: “This major research tool analyses the features of specific types of licensing agreements and also addresses other practical issues which apply across different types of licensing transactions, such as the treatment of licensing in bankruptcy and the use of arbitration for solving licensing disputes. The Handbook ultimately provides a scholarly contribution to the development of global intellectual property licensing policies.
Including transversal and comparative analysis, this Handbook will appeal to intellectual property licensing practitioners, lawyers and intellectual property and contract law academics.”
Published by Edward Elgar Publishing, more information is available on their website, here.
Book reviews are provided here.
An upcoming conference in Mumbai, India will look at patent laws related to the pharmaceutical and biopharma industries regionally and internationally.
CPhI’s 3rd Annual Pharma IPR 2014, taking place from 26-28 February, is a targeted conference focusing on patent related matters for pharma and biopharma industry across the globe. It is intended to provide an ideal learning and networking platform where techno-legal experts from patent law firms across the globe share an update on patent regimes, changes in patent laws, and enforceability of patent laws in different regions with the pharma and biopharma companies.
The conference agenda will cover most debated subjects like: inter-partes review; one year after the implementation of the America Invents Act; reverse payments settlements cases; current implementation of the Unitary Patent System in the EU; and formulating strategies to introduce generic products in international markets.
The programme will cover patent laws of over 13 regions including the US, EU, Japan, Mexico, Canada, India, South East Asia, and Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries.
Click here to view the region-wise agenda.
Free download for IP-Watch Readers! Click here to view presentations from 2013!
The World Intellectual Property Organization will hold a conference in January on open innovation and the future of knowledge, featuring some surprising speakers.
The WIPO Conference on Open Innovation: Collaborative Projects and the Future of Knowledge will be held on 22-23 January.
Speakers are expected to include: Richard Wilder, associate general counsel at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Samir Brahmachari, director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Delhi; Tim Hubbard, academic faculty at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; Peter Beyer, senior advisor at the World Health Organization; Katy Athersuch, medical information and access policy adviser at Medecins Sans Frontieres; Tanja de Coster, director, IP counsel, at eBay; and Bror Salmelin, policy advisor to the director of the European Commission Directorate General for the Information Society and Media, according to the provisional programme.
But the speaker list also includes many new names for Geneva policy circles, including representatives and government officials from across Europe, the US and Africa, like filmmakers, artists, researchers, energy innovators and those from innovation hubs and networks.
Five top trademark offices, which call themselves the TM5, met earlier this month in Seoul, South Korea, and agreed on seminars, reports and other activities intended to improve their coordination and help fight bad practices.
The meeting of the trademark offices of China, Europe, Japan, South Korea and the United States met from 5-6 December. According to a 6 December release by the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the group “agreed to enhance cooperation in the trademark field focusing on users.” Japan will act as secretariat for the 2014 annual meeting of the TM5, it said.
Intellectual Property Watch interviewed the Korean director of trademark and design about the event (IPW, Trademarks/Geographical Indications/Domains, 8 November 2013).
A joint statement released on 20 December provides more details on the outcomes of the meeting.
The full joint statement is as follows:
TM5 ANNUAL MEETING
Seoul, Republic of Korea, 5-6 December 2013
The Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trademarks and Designs) (OHIM), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), (hereinafter referred to as the â€œPartnersâ€) held the 2013 TM5 Annual Meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 5-6 December 2013.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) was present as an observer, as it had been at the previous TM5 meeting. In addition, representatives of various user associations participated in the open session of the meeting. That session was productive and useful.
During the Meeting, the Partners exchanged views and information on practices and programs, as well as on common projects aiming at promoting cooperation and collaboration among the Partners and contributing to increasingly user-friendly trademark systems.
The Partners reached the following conclusions:
1. Continuation/ Expansion of Bad Faith- led by the JPO with the participating offices of KIPO, OHIM, SAIC and USPTO
- The Partners agreed that JPO will host a seminar on bad-faith filing on the margins of the upcoming INTA annual meeting in Hong Kong, in May in 2014. JPO will extend invitations to each of the four TM5 partners.
- The Partners agreed that at the upcoming mid-year meeting of the TM5 in Hong Kong, the JPO will present a draft Report on the TM5 partnersâ€™ respective laws and examination practices that pertain to bad faith filings. The partners further agreed that JPO will present a proposed final version of that Report at the annual TM 5 meeting in 2014.
- The Partners noted that, before JPO finalizes its Report, certain of the Partnersâ€™ relevant laws and/or examination guideline may be amended. If that occurs, the Partner in question, may, as appropriate, either revise the answers it provided to the questionnaire that was the basis for the Report, or clarify that the law or examination guideline referred to in the questionnaire will come into effect on a particular date. The final Report that JPO will issue will reflect any such revisions or clarifications.
- Concerning that questionnaire, the JPO will provide the Partners with copies of the responses it received from each of the Partners by the end of 2013.
2. Image Search- led by the JPO with the participating offices of KIPO, OHIM, SAIC and USPTO
- The Partners agreed that the Image Search Project is useful and it should be continued.
- Future discussions regarding image searching may be devoted to identifying â€“ and discussing possible solutions to â€“ problems that arise in the area of image searching. In addition, those Partners that are developing image search systems may wish to share their experiences.
- The Partners agreed that the JPO will host a working-level meeting in Japan in March or April of 2014, at which Partners can share information, and at which JPO may present its interim report on image searching.
3. Common Statistical Indicators- led by the OHIM with the participating offices of JPO, KIPO, SAIC and USPTO
- The JPO, the KIPO, the OHIM and the SAIC may exchange data once a year on a calendar year basis, in January of each year. In addition, the USPTO may provide its data based on its fiscal year, which commences on October 1 of each year.
- With regard to KPI 1(Trademark Application), the OHIM may choose to provide data regarding filings at both OHIM and at the EU National Offices.
- The Partners agreed that it could be beneficial to conduct working-level discussions on the statistics, including discussions on how to provide data regarding the number of examiners at each Partner office. Such discussions could be helpful, since the various Partners may define the term â€œexaminerâ€ differently.
- The Partners will share their own forecast estimate on the condition that it is used for internal purpose. In addition, the Partners may determine whether they wish to share the information regarding forecasting methodologies.
- Statistical indicators will be published in the TM5 website.
4. User-friendly access to trademark information- led by the OHIM with the participating offices of JPO, KIPO, SAIC and USPTO
- OHIM reported that trademark data from the USPTO and the KIPO will be searchable in TM view in December 2013. In addition, the feasibility study of JPO and SAIC will be carried out in 2014.
5. Common Status Descriptors- led by the USPTO, with the participating offices of JPO, KIPO, OHIM and SAIC
- The Partners agreed that each would adopt proposed levels 0 and 1 of the descriptors.
- In addition, by January 15, 2014, the Partners will provide views on: the remaining proposed levels, on the visual status â€œICONSâ€ that the USPTO proposed, on the meaning of the term â€˜dismissedâ€™ in level 2, and on whether KIPOâ€™s proposals with respect to use of the terms â€˜invalidatedâ€™ and â€˜abandonedâ€™.
6. TM5 Website- led by the KIPO, with the participating offices of JPO, USPTO, OHIM and SAIC.
- The Partners noted their appreciation of the TM5 web site, and noted as that the web site can be of great use in enhancing cooperation among the Partners and in assisting users.
- The Partners agreed to launch the website as soon as possible, and to provide feedback on the proposed â€œTM5 Website Operation Regulationâ€ and on the interface, by December 20, 2013. The KIPO expects to launch the web-site in the beginning of 2014.
7. Taxonomy and TMClass link-led by OHIM with the participating offices of JPO, KIPO, SAIC and USPTO
- The Partners agreed that the technical meeting in Washington D.C was very useful and agreed to hold additional technical meetings if all agree that such meetings are both feasible and appropriate.
- The OHIM noted that the Taxonomy project is not yet completed, and assured the Partners that once the structure of taxonomy is agreed to, the OHIM will not change that structure without the agreement of the Partners.
- In the future, OHIM will provide the Partners with information regarding consultations on Taxonomy that it may conduct with other organizations, including WIPO.
- The JPO proposed to provide Japanese translations to contribute to the development of TMclass and the Partners welcomed that proposal.
8. ID list- led by USPTO with the participating offices of JPO, KIPO, OHIM and SAIC
- The Partners agreed to adopt the proposal that, when rejecting a proposed new entry to the ID list, each Partner will signify the basis for its rejection by selecting one of the eight grounds for rejection identified at the technical meeting held in Washington in October in 2013.
- The Partners agreed to invite IP offices from the ASEAN region to participate in the project, and further agreed that the USPTO, as the lead office, would send letters of invitation to such offices.
- The Partners agreed that it would be helpful to conduct working-level discussions regarding the Draft Rules of Governance for the ID list project and the text of the Memorandum of Cooperation that memorializes the participation of non- TM5 members in the effort.
- The Partners accepted the JPOâ€™s proposal to invite WIPO to consider integrating the TM5 ID list into WIPOâ€™s goods and services manager.
9. Session with users- led by the host country with the participating offices of JPO, KIPO, OHIM, SAIC and USPTO
- At the session for representatives of user organizations, KIPO introduced fifty one attendees from groups including GRUR and ICC(OHIM), JIPA, JPAA, JTA(JPO), KOTA, KINPA, KAPP(KIPO), ABA, AIPLA, INTA, IPO(USPTO). There were approximately forty questions from users.
- The Partners noted that a central purpose of their joint work and of the annual meetings, was to benefit their users. The Partners further agreed that at future meetings, they should allow additional time for sessions with users.
The following new projects were presented and discussed.
10. Comparative Analysis on Examination Results- proposed by KIPO
- The KIPO assured that the objective of this project was not the harmonization of each partner’s laws, practices. In addition, it confirmed that the partners will discuss and agree upon the subjects, detailed categories and the number of cases to be analyzed by the Partners.
- The Partners agreed that the project would be beneficial to both the Partners and to users. The Partners adopted the KIPOâ€™s proposals, with the understanding that the precise details of the project would be explored and agreed to at the working level. The Partners furthered agreed to cooperate with the KIPO in implementing the project, and agreed that they would discuss the details of such implementation, including the appropriate uses of the data to be gathered.
11. Improve Convenience of Applicants of the Madrid Protocol by Enriching Information Provision- proposed by the JPO
- The Partners welcomed this proposal, and agreed that they should conduct additional discussions regarding the proposal. In particular, the Partners agreed to conduct further discussions during the next mid-term meeting in 2014, and to provide views to the JPO in advance of that meeting.
Discussion on TM5 Cooperation
- Project Maintenance
- The Partners welcomed the OHIMâ€™s proposal on project maintenance, and also agreed that the Partner Office that is responsible for maintaining a particular project should craft project maintenance plans whose form and content is based on characteristics of the project in question.
2. Â Proposal on Operating TM5 Working Group
- The Partners welcomed the proposal by the KIPO to form Working Groups and decided to have Working Group meetings, in cases where such meetings are appropriate and feasible.
- The Partners will also explore which means might be appropriate for conducting particular working group meetings, such as digital videoconferences.
- At the 2014 mid-term meeting, the Partners will discuss how best to organize and operate the different working groups, and the details regarding any meetings they may wish to convene.
2014 TM5 Secretariat
- The Partners agreed that JPO will act as the secretariat for the 2014 TM5 meetings.
The Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (Trademarks and Designs) (OHIM), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (hereinafter referred to as the â€œDesign Partnersâ€) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) participated in the â€œTM5â€ Annual Meeting held in Seoul, the Republic of Korea on 5-6 December 2013.
The OHIM as the lead office of design drawing and view catalogue project presented a draft of the catalogue and raised possible issues on the follow-up plan for the project.
The Design Partners discussed the maintenance method and the possibility of publication for users filing design applications in all respective countries and territories (the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, Japan and the European Union) as well as international design applications with WIPO.
The Design Partners agreed to refine the current draft of catalogue by March 1, 2014 and decide whether and how it is shared with users no later than the next TM5 Mid-term Meeting.
The Design Partners updated each other on the latest amendments to design legislation. Additionally, the JPO shared a recent design-related court case with other partners.
The Design Partners informed each other of their Hague Agreement accession and/or implementation efforts.
The Design Partners exchanged information and views on the design system and practices in their respective offices and discussed specific issues (DAS for Designs, grace period, design search system, examination quality review system and registrability of minimalist design and architectural design).
The Design Partners agreed to decide to consider the project proposed by the KIPO (development of a design registrability/patentability comparison report) at the next TM5 Mid-term Meeting. KIPO offered to take the lead of this project and share a project brief.
The Design Partners discussed the impact of other design jurisdictions outside of the Design Partners.
Possible areas for future discussion at the TM5 Annual Meeting in 2014
- The Design Partners agreed to update each other on the latest amendments to their Design legislation.
- The Design Partners agreed to discuss the quality review systems applied in their offices for Design Examination processes.
- The Design Partners agreed to discuss the further enhancement of the design search system.
- The Design Partners agreed to discuss the possible use of electronic priority document exchange via DAS in the future.
2014 TM5 Secretariat
The Design Partners agreed that JPO will act as the secretariat for the 2014 TM5 meetings.
A new private-sector report shows that after a downturn, patents on a range of technologies for water are back on the rise as companies are busy innovating around a basic human need and resource.
The report broke down the search by technology types, including: purification, desalination, metering, irrigation, and groundwater. It also looked at different types of uses, such housing, pond or pool filtration, and aspects of water treatment.
In general, the search found a decline from 2009 to 2010, but then saw a bounce-back, with variation, potentially attributable to the 2007 economic downturn.
In 2012, there were 557 water technology patents granted in the US.
The first annual United States report on Russia’s implementation of World Trade Organization commitments since it joined the WTO last year shows that Russia has taken many steps to comply with its commitments on intellectual property rights. But the US report found some areas where Russia is lagging.
The US Trade Representative’s Report on Russiaâ€™s Implementation of the WTO Agreement [pdf] was issued today.
In its accession to the WTO last year, Russia agreed to full terms of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) without a transition period.
Russia has been moving steadily on a number of fronts. Examples listed are: a law specifically dedicated to decreasing online piracy of television and film, passed in June 2013, with additional amendments underway; conducting unannounced raids on optical media (e.g., CD-Roms) factories; establishing a specialised court for IP cases in summer of 2013; and reportedly working to create a specialised IP agency that would consolidate patent, trademark and copyright activities, including collective management, apparently to be in place in mid-2014.
However, the US said, “Notwithstanding these actions, the current IPR enforcement environment in Russia remains weak,” particularly on software piracy and counterfeiting, and customs efforts. In fact, overall, the US said that IP enforcement appears to be on the decline rather than increasing.
Other areas in need of work were listed, such as a “burdensome” collecting licensing regime (which, the US notes, is not actually required under TRIPS).
By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch
Mike Rogers, chairman of the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, today defended the work of the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies in the US at a meeting with members of the European Parliament, and called for a united front against the theft of intellectual property by China.
The US is advanced with regard to the security services and there were misunderstandings about the meaning of mass surveillance, Rogers, a Michigan Republican, said. Given the existing checks and balances of security activities in the US, he said, â€œstructures are ok, we can work on transparency.â€
While touching on the joint security interests between the US and the EU, Rogers also underlined the need for the US and the EU to jointly fend off the theft of intellectual property and blueprints pointing to China as a major threat.
â€œWe have no united front against industrial espionage from China,â€ he said.
Rogers pointed to the need to include the issue of data flows in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The debate about including data privacy and data flows in the TTIP is controversial. EU Commissioner Viviane Reding recently said there is no need for negotiations about data privacy, as it is a standing fundamental right.
In the TTIP negotiation this week in Washington, DC, according to several tweets by the EU Commission, â€œrules on food and agricultural products,â€ as well as â€œa wide range of topicsâ€ was discussed on day one of the third negotiation round.
The European Parliament’s inquiry on the Snowden revelations will present their draft recommendations tomorrow, and they also include recommendations with regard to trade-related cooperation like the safe harbour agreement preventing internet intermediary liability.
The Berne Declaration, a Swiss non-profit, has released results of investigations that found industry-sponsored offshore clinical drug trials in developing countries involve “multiple ethical violations,” a problem increased by the patent-based industry business model.
“Researches carried out in Ukraine, Russia, Argentina and India have shown multiple ethical violations due to weak regulatory environments and inadequate ethics monitoring,” the group said in a release. “Another enquiry conducted in Switzerland highlighted the current flaws at the Swiss medicines agency level in terms of ethical controls as well as the total lack of transparency prevailing during the marketing authorisation process.”
“Ethical violations such as improper informed consent process, abusive use of placebo, absence of post-trial treatment access and lack of compensation in case of serious adverse events have been documented in 4 the different country reports, which have just been published in English,” it said.
The findings echo concerns raised in debates at the European Union level with regard to regulation of clinical trials and access to research data, it added.
“The business model of pharmaceutical companies revolving around patent protection acts as an incentive to reduce the duration of the R&D phase of a medicine, thereby increasing the risk of ethical violations during clinical trials, in particular those offshored in weak regulatory environments,” Berne Declaration said.
It highlighted a “special publication” entitled â€œClinical trials: human guinea-pigs on the cheap,” which it said gives an overview of the situation and summarises the results of its investigations and demands to the Swiss health authorities for increased transparency and ethical control.
All of the reports are available at www.ladb.ch/clinicaltrials.
The intellectual property offices of Korea and China today announced they have signed a cooperation agreement on work-sharing, communication, and new areas of IP, including the commercial use of IP rights such as transactions involving patents.
According to Korean IP Office (KIPO) press release, the memorandum of understanding “includes new areas beyond the existing cooperation, including the commercial use of IPRs â€” such as IPR transactions and finance â€” for which both countries have shown an active interest.”
In addition, KIPO said, “the MOU includes provisions to improve bilateral communication on international issues and to enhance overall cooperation on global IPR issues.” The two countries “also signed MOUs to extend work-sharing through the Patent Prosecution Highway and for e-exchanges of priority documents,” it said.
The text of the MOU did not appear to be available on the KIPO website, and no further information was provided.
The MOU was signed on 9 December, during the 19th meeting of the heads of KIPO and SIPO. The two countries have met almost every year since 1992, but this the first time they signed an MOU on comprehensive bilateral cooperation, KIPO said.
“The MOU was signed as a follow-up measure to President Park Geun-hyeâ€™s visit to China for a summit meeting in June,” it said. “President Park issued a joint declaration with President Xi Jinping of China agreeing to expand bilateral exchanges and cooperation in IPRs.”
KIPO Commissioner Kim Young-min gave a lecture (also not provided) on the theme of the â€œCreative Economy and Koreaâ€™s IPRsâ€ at Renmin University in China on 9 December. Kim explained the idea of a creative economy through easy-to-understand case studies and emphasized that creative ideas and dreams are important for Chinese students, the release said.
By Catherine Saez
The Medicines Patent Pool today announced a new agreement with biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb for an HIV medicine, which is expected to increase access in 110 developing countries.
The agreement, available on the Geneva-based Medicines Patent Pool website, is the patent pool’s first agreement covering a World Health Organization-preferred second-line therapy, according to a Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) release.
“This agreement will allow manufacturers world-wide to produce more affordable versions of atazanavir, and to combine atazanavir with other medicines to make treatment easier and more accessible in developing countries,” said Greg Perry, executive director of the MPP.
According to the release, under the terms of the agreement, a technology transfer package will be provided to sub-licensees to facilitate the manufacture of atazanavir.
Royalties are not applicable in a large majority of the concerned countries, and are waived for all paediatric products, says the release. In addition, “any royalties that are collected under this licence agreement will be reinvested in local HIV/AIDS groups in those countries,” it said.
[Update:] US lobby group Public Citizen has issued a statement applauding the agreement, and encouraging others in the private sector to follow suit. “We congratulate the MPP and encourage all of Big Pharma to jump in the Patent Pool,” Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen Global Access to Medicines Program Director, said in the release.
He noted that MPP has entered into negotiations with AbbVie (formerly Abbott), and that Johnson & Johnson and Merck are lagging behind in having such negotiations.
Maybarduk also noted that the new agreement contains another provision that provides for sales where no patent is held, which would cover an additional 30 countries according to an MPP database.
United States Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker today announced Michelle K. Lee as the next deputy director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), starting in January. In the absence of a director at USPTO, she will also serve as acting director.
Lee, who is currently director of the USPTO Silicon Valley satellite office, comes from a high-tech legal background, including Google. Silicon Valley is the high-tech region in northern California.
she will also have the title of deputy under secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, and will start at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia on 13 January 2014.
The following are excerpts from the USPTO press release:
“While Director of the USPTOâ€™s Silicon Valley satellite office, Lee has served as the agencyâ€™s primary liaison with the innovation community in the Silicon Valley and West Coast, leading the establishment of a temporary office in Menlo Park and working creatively with Californiaâ€™s Congressional, state, and local leadership to successfully secure a permanent office location in San Jose. In that role, she has also been actively engaged in education and outreach initiatives, empowering the USPTO to more effectively develop programs, policies, and procedures to meet the needs of the West Coast innovation community. Beyond the Silicon Valley office, Lee has also played a broader role in helping shape key policy matters impacting the nationâ€™s intellectual property (IP) system, focusing closely on efforts to continually strengthen patent quality, as well as curbing abusive patent litigation. Prior to becoming Director of the Silicon Valley USPTO, Lee served two terms on the USPTOâ€™s Patent Public Advisory Committee, whose members are appointed by the U.S. Commerce Secretary and serve to advise the USPTO on its policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees.
An engineer and attorney by training, Lee has developed a distinguished career over the past 25 years focused on various key facets of patent law, technology, and innovation policy in private practice, industry, and the executive and judicial branches of the federal government. Prior to joining the USPTO, Lee served as Deputy General Counsel for Google and was the companyâ€™s first Head of Patents and Patent Strategy. She also served as a partner at the Silicon Valley-based law firm of Fenwick & West, where she specialized in advising a wide range of high-technology clients from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies on all aspects of patent law, intellectual property, litigation and corporate matters. Prior to her career as a legal advisor to technology companies, Lee worked in the federal judiciary, serving as a law clerk for the Honorable Vaughn R. Walker on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and the Honorable Paul R. Michel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Before building her legal career, Lee worked as a computer scientist at Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories, as well as at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She holds a B.S. and an M.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from M.I.T., as well as a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
Upon assuming her role as USPTO Deputy Director, Lee will perform the functions and duties of the USPTO Director, a position that is currently vacant. In accordance with statutory law, she will assume the title of ‘Acting Director’ once President Obama nominates a Director.
After Lee begins her new role in January, John Cabeca, a 25-year veteran of the USPTO, will serve as the Director of the Silicon Valley satellite office until the permanent office in San Jose City Hall becomes operational. Cabeca is currently the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO and a former Semiconductor Technology Center Director. In addition to seeing the office through its build-out and hiring, Cabeca will focus on continuing the strong education and outreach initiatives by assembling a public engagement team that will guide educational programs tailored to the Silicon Valley’s unique ecosystem of industries and stakeholders.”