The latest briefs from the IP community
By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch
Brazilian Minister of Communications Paolo Bernado Silva, during the opening session of this week’s 8th Internet Governance Forum in Bali, Indonesia, announced that the goal of the Internet Governance Summit in Brazil next spring will be to find a new model for internet governance.
Referring to the anger in Brazil about the revelations of mass surveillance, Silva said, “we do not just want any internet.” After a decade of unilateralism and centralism, a move towards a more democratic and inclusive model is necessary, Silva said. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) President and CEO Fadi Chehadé agreed: “The status quo is not sustainable.”
The planned summit in Brazil, jointly announced with ICANN, will be open to all stakeholders, both said. Silva underlined that what the model will look like is also open. Silva’s speech is available here [pdf, scroll down for English].
US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy Danny Sepulveda, in his opening speech, said that while the US is open to the evolution of the internet governance model, one should guard against centralised and institutionalised control of the net. Reacting to the surveillance allegations, Sepulveda said: “I can assure you the US government is taking your concerns very seriously.”
Thomas Gass, assistant secretary-general for policy coordination and inter-agency affairs in UN DESA, also criticised mass surveillance in his opening address.
Speaking for civil society and the World Wide Web Foundation, Nnenna Nwakanma warned: “We seem to be moving farther from human rights as we move further on the internet governance process.” Human rights and civil society participation need to have a comeback at the IGF and be kept at centre stage, Nwakamma said.
Human rights issues, surveillance, as well as how the multi-stakeholder cooperation should be shaped are the topics of many panels until Friday.
How sensitive is US trade? Perhaps as an indication of its approach to the press, the United States Trade Representative’s office yesterday published its weekly “press week ahead” full of events that would be of interest to domestic and international press – and 100 percent closed to press.
UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
www.ustr.gov Washington, D.C. 20508 202-395-3230
USTR Press Office Week Ahead
October 21-October 25, 2013
Monday, October 21
Ambassador Froman will meet with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Ambassador Froman will participate in the U.S.-China CEO Dialogue at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
On October 21 – 23, Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Wendy Cutler will lead the third round of U.S.-Japan Parallel Negotiations on Motor Vehicles, Insurance and other Non-tariff Measures.
Closed Press (opening photo spray)
On October 21-25, Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke and USTR staff will participate in negotiations toward a multilateral trade agreement for the 9th WTO Ministerial.
On October 21-25, Ambassador to the WTO Michael Punke and USTR staff will participate in the resumption of negotiations toward the expanded Information Technology Agreement at the WTO.
U.S. negotiators arrive in Japan for bilateral and intersessional TPP meetings on intellectual property rights.
Tuesday, October 22
Ambassador Froman will meet with BMW Chairman Dr.-Ing. Norbert Reithofer.
Wednesday, October 23
No public events.
Thursday, October 24
No public events.
Friday, October 25
No public events.
** Additional events may be announced throughout the week.
By Dugie Standeford for Intellectual Property Watch
The European Commission wants feedback from interested parties on a proposal by Samsung Electronics to resolve an antitrust investigation. The case relates to Samsung’s efforts to enforce standard essential patents (SEPs) it owns for mobile communications technology. SEPs are patents that protect technologies essential for the implementation of an industry standard developed by a standard-setting organisation.
The antitrust probe, begun in January 2012, arose from EC concerns that Samsung’s attempt to seek injunctions against Apple based on Samsung’s 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications System SEPs in several EU member states might breach the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which prohibits abuse of a dominant market position.
Samsung owns SEPs related to mobile telecom standards and has committed to licensing them on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. Apple was willing to sign a licensing agreement on FRAND terms for Samsung’s SEPs, but the latter launched court proceedings instead.
To settle the case, Samsung offered several concessions, the EC said. In particular, it proposed not to seek any injunctions for five years, based on any of its current and future SEPs that relate to technologies used in smartphones and tablets, against any company that agrees to a particular licensing arrangement.
All documents in the case, including Samsung’s commitments, are here. Comments are due within one month from publication in the EU Official Journal.
[Update:] Apple declined to comment on the EC statement, but pointed to a FOSS Patents blog posting in which intellectual property analyst Florian Mueller said there is “significant risk” that the ultimate outcome of the EU antitrust probe against Samsung “could be thoroughly disappointing.” The EC should have rejected Samsung’s offer outright, he said. That is because, among other problems, the five-year period is too short and the requirement that if parties can’t agree on either submitting disputes to court or arbitration they will have to use arbitration is “irreconcilable with the rule of law.”
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued its draft strategic plan for 2014-2018 and is asking for comments.
The draft strategic plan is here [pdf].
The call for comments is here. Comments are due by 25 November. A hearing is scheduled for 5 November, according to sources.
The draft plan summarises USPTO’s goals as:
“• We will establish the optimal pendency and quality levels for
both patents and trademarks that will enable us to operate
efficiently and effectively in a steady-state maintenance mode,
while considering the expectations of the IP community.
• We will effectively administer the provisions of the AIA.
• We will continue to transform the USPTO with Next Generation
technology and services.
• We will continue working with other Government agencies,
Congress and our global partners to establish IP systems that
benefit innovation, create jobs and lead to strong economies
around the world.
• We will continue to recognize the importance of a strong and
diverse leadership team, an agile management structure, and
a diverse and engaged cadre of employees in achieving our
mission and vision over the long term.”
USPTO’s work also includes copyright, although it is separate from the US Copyright Office.It plans to “take a lead role” in World Intellectual Property Organization negotiations on a treaty on broadcasters’ rights, and on copyright exceptions for libraries and education. It does not indicate whether it will be in support of these initiatives or not.
The 42-page plan goes into detail on how it will accomplish its goals. On providing domestic and global leadership, it lists initiatives such as:
” A. Provide policy formulation and guidance on key IP
issues in all fields of IP protection and enforcement
B. Engage other U.S. Government Agencies and Congress
on legislation that improves the IP system
C. Lead domestic and international copyright initiatives
and policy development for the U.S. Government
D. Provide domestic education outreach at all levels, including
through distance learning, knowledge enhancement
and capacity building
E. Leverage technology to increase domestic and international
education, training and outreach at all levels
F. Expand knowledge of domestic and international IP
landscape and public impacts of IP through empirical
research and fact-finding”
It say USPTO was “instrumental” in the June agreement on a WIPO treaty on exceptions and limitations for the blind, as well as in the development of the US government “green paper” on copyright reform. The office also “provides technical assistance to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in connection with the negotiation and implementation of IP rights provisions contained in the U.S. Free Trade Agreements,” it said. Those provisions are among the most disputed in some of those FTA negotiations. It refers to the office’s help in negotiating “state-of-the-art” IP provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.
It also details a significant objective of working to strengthen IP protection and enforcement, including at WIPO (where IP protection and enforcement is relegated to a non-negotiating advisory committee).
USPTO will work in a variety of ways to improve international cooperation and worksharing.
And it says China will continue to be a major focus of the next period.
From Infojustice.org: “[PIJIP] Last week, the report Brazilian Patent Reform: Innovation Towards Competitiveness was launched at an event at the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. This report was developed through a long consultative process (including seven workshops in 2011 and 2012) by a technical team led by FGV’s Pedro Paranaguá. It proposes legislative reforms that would incorporate lawful TRIPS flexibilities into domestic law, enhancing access to generic medicines. Proposed reforms include: eliminating patent term extensions and data exclusivity, restricting patents on new forms and new uses and tightening the inventive step requirement (following the India example), adopting a government use procedures, and clarifying the role that ANVISA, its drug regulatory agency, plays in the patent examination system. Click here for more.”
[FGV is the Fundação Getulio Vargas law school in Rio de Janeiro. TRIPS is the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.]
A hearing to consider a United States government “green paper” as part of the ongoing reform of the US copyright system has been moved to 12 December due to the government shutdown.
A press release announcing the new date and time is available here [pdf]. Public comments are still being accepted, it said.
The hearing had been scheduled for 30 October, and is part of a bigger process, including acceptance of written public comments (IPW, US Policy, 8 October 2013).
Input is being solicited on the US Commerce Department Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) green paper titled, Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy and on a USPTO blog. There was a previous USPTO press release and a Federal Register notice from the USPTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The United States has signed the World Intellectual Property Organization Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.
According to the WIPO website, the United States and Zimbabwe signed on 2 October, which appears to bring the number to 57. So far none have ratified it.
Despite signing, the United States might be a long way from ratifying the June 2013 treaty, as noted by Jonathan Band of policybandwidth in Washington, DC, who first announced the US signing.
“Of course, signing the treaty is different from ratifying it,” he said on a listserv. “Signing the treaty was a decision within the control of the Obama Administration. Ratification requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, and the Senate Republicans have refused to ratify over 30 treaties signed by a variety of administrations over the past four decades, if not longer.”
Experts discussed prospects for US ratification at an event held last month at American University law school (IPW, WIPO, 20 September 2013). At that event, a US official said it would be signed “very soon”.
The list of signers of the Marrakesh Treaty is available here.
The Marrakesh Treaty is available here.
IP Law Summit
November 17-19, 2013| Grande Real Villa Itália| Cascais, Lisbon, Portugal
The IP Law Europe Summit is the premium forum bringing together leading in-house IP counsel with specialist international law firms, IP attorneys and legal services providers. As an invitation-only event taking place behind closed doors, the summit offers regional IP executives an intimate environment for a focused discussion of key new drivers shaping the IP industry.
Distinguished speakers include:
- Tommi Lehtinen, Head of IPR, Product Differentiation Portfolio, Nokia Siemens Networks
- Peter Schøtt Knudsen, VP, Global Head of Legal & IPR, ECCO
- Cheree Johnson, Chief Innovation Counsel, HJ Heinz
- Jean Luc Chalhoub, GC, New Business & Strategic Partnerships, Orange
- Jan Strzebniok, VP & GC, EMEAI, Honeywell Aerospace
- Vincent Pickering, CLO & Secretary, WABCO
- Mark Lágler, GC, Supply Chain and Global Services, Unilever
Key issues for 2013 include:
- Ahead of the Game – Keeping pace with the latest developments in patent legislation in the EU and US
- Dynamic Exchange – Leveraging know-how and technology transfer to stimulate cost-efficient innovation
- Positive-Sum Game – Informing the M&A strategy to unlock valuable transactions
- Secrecy Status – Exploring trade secrets protection to keep expenditure under control and defend IP in fast-moving markets
- A Taxing Issue – Orchestrating IP and R&D activities to reap the benefits of favourable tax regimes
- Designing Value – Shielding design and packaging elements to boost brand recognition
- Diversity Powerhouse – Mastering the art of orchestrating diversity to excel as a team
- Social Media Palooza – Riding the digital wave while guarding your brand and reputation
To gain a view of the event brochure, click here: http://www.marcusevans-conferences-northamerican.com/IPLawEU_eaag_IPW
For speaking, sponsoring or attending, please contact Laurel Zevitz at +1 312-540-3000 ext 6683 or email email@example.com
By Catherine Saez
Two scientists with a connection to Geneva have published an unorthodox e-book entitled, Guide for the perplexed entering the Maze of Genetic Resources Traditional Knowledge and Folklore.
Book co-author Anne Gut is a cellular biologist formerly working at the Medicine Faculty of the University of Geneva, and Bruno Vitale, the other co-author of the book is a theoretical physicist, formerly at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and professor of quantum mechanics at the Science Faculty of the University of Naples.
The e-book [doc] proposes to help its readers understand the whys and wherefores of the discussions taking place in international organisations on genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, notably at the World Intellectual Property Organization in the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC). The IGC is working on an international instrument or instruments to prevent misuse and misappropriation of those cultural and genetic resources.
WIPO has spent 10 years working on definitions and glossaries “without a single word on belief versus knowledge, and traditional practices versus methodological precautions,” Vitale told Intellectual Property Watch.
The publication also explores the origins and motivations at the root of the World Health Organization involvement in traditional medical knowledge, and their attempt to define “methodological guidelines,” Vitale said.
In the book, the authors say they had originally been researching on IP and access to medicines and on the role of international organisations in development and health in poor countries when they realised that part of the interplay between IP rights and access to essential drugs was taking place at WIPO.
The authors say they were observers at the IGC in 2012 and 2013 for a Swiss nongovernmental organisation, Centrale Sanitaire Suisse Romande.
The e-book, which also may be obtained by sending a request to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org, [corrected] is published under a Creative Commons Licence.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has helped to outline the process for public comments and participation in the ongoing reform to the US copyright system. The focal point for discussion is a “green” paper issued in July, on which a hearing is scheduled for 30 October. [Update: the hearing has been rescheduled for 12 December due to the government shutdown, see here.]
A 4 October blog by USPTO Chief Policy Officer and Director for International Affairs Shira Perlmutter describes the process.
She said input being solicited “on copyright policy and innovation as outlined in the recent U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) green paper titled Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Digital Economy and on this blog. You may have learned from a USPTO press release or a Federal Register Notice from the USPTO and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of an IPTF public meeting that—barring a need to reschedule due to the current government shutdown—we’re holding on October 30th.”
Perlmutter added: “As explained in the Federal Register Notice, we are particularly seeking comments on five specific topics raised in the green paper: (1) establishing a multistakeholder dialogue on improving the operation of the notice and takedown system for removing infringing content from the Internet under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); (2) the legal framework for the creation of remixes; (3) the relevance and scope of the first sale doctrine in the digital environment; (4) the application of statutory damages in the contexts of individual file sharers and of secondary liability for large-scale infringement; and (5) the appropriate role for the government, if any, to help improve the online licensing environment, including access to comprehensive databases of rights information.”
Early comments have been requested by 15 October, but, she said, “Anyone can still participate in the meeting even if they don’t submit comments by October 15th. The actual deadline for comment submission is two weeks after the meeting, on November 13th.”
The UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) today released global statistics on information and communications technology, showing great advances in speed, reach and mobile connectivity, but with the reality that billions of humans are still not connected to the internet.
According to the ITU, some 250 million additional people came online in 2012, and South Korea remained highest in the global ICT rankings for the third year in a row.
By the end of 2013, some 40 percent of the world will be online, ITU said, but 4.4 billion people will remain unconnected. Meanwhile, nearly everyone in the world is within reach of mobile cellular service, it said.
Read the detailed press announcement here.
According to the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, five new ratifications have brought the 2010 treaty on the protection of genetic resources closer to implementation.
In a press release [pdf], the CBD said the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization “has taken a bid step towards entry into force”
Bhutan, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Indonesia, and Norway recently ratified the treaty, bringing to 25 the total number of ratifications. For the protocol to enter into force, 50 ratifications are necessary. Norway, the release said, is the first developed country to ratify the protocol. India and Indonesia, as well as Mexico and South Africa, have already ratified the treaty.
The instrument will enter into force “on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession,” the release noted.
The United States Congress’ failure to pass a budget for the government by the end of the fiscal year on 30 September, which led to today’s shutdown, will have a variety of effects on the patent process, according to a new article.
According to Matt Levy, posting on the Computer & Communications Industry Association’s PatentProgress blog, the patent filing and court systems will keep functioning on reserves – at least for a few weeks.
But there is a big exception: the US International Trade Commission shut down today.
Read the PatentProgress blogpost here.
Meanwhile, for the bigger United Nations picture, a blogger following the UN in New York said there would be little impact in the short term.
See the UN Dispatch blog here.
Basically, the question gets more complicated the longer a budget is not approved.
The World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Body has established a panel on a complaint by Honduras against Australia’s measure to require tobacco to be sold in plain packaging as a public health measure.
According to WTO, in the 25 September DSB meeting, Honduras expressed its concern that Australia’s measures regulating the plain packaging of tobacco products were “inconsistent” with Australia’s obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement.
Australia said that its tobacco plain packaging legislation “did not undermine the protection afforded under the TRIPS Agreement nor was it more trade restrictive than necessary to fulfil its legitimate public health objective,” WTO said. The measure is origin neutral, non-discriminatory and applied to all tobacco products regardless of origin, it said.
Australia requested that a single panel be formed to examine the request of Honduras and an earlier request by Ukraine, but Honduras said no.
The first request by Honduras had been blocked by Australia, as allowed under WTO rules. Panel requests follow an initial period of consultations, which failed to resolve the differences. The panellists have not been named yet.
The case is (DS435) Australia — Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, Geographical Indications and other plain packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging. Background on the case is available here.
A recent list of the status of five WTO cases related to the Australian tobacco measure is here (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 22 September 2013).
This week, US Ambassador to the UN Betty King told Intellectual Property Watch that WIPO is still out of balance – against intellectual property rights holders.
Asked about remarks she made in 2010 that an over-focus by WIPO on development would “kill” the organization (IPW, WIPO 17 December 2010), King said she is not concerned about the Development Agenda, but that there is still a need for greater balance for those who have IP rights.
“We’re not there yet,” she said in a brief interview at the 23 September-2 October WIPO General Assembly.
WIPO held an Innovation Forum yesterday (IPW, WIPO, 25 September 2013) that came from a proposal to bring industry and innovator perspectives in touch with policymakers. King said the forum was important for helping with the balance, as it showed to developing countries people from developing countries who have made IPRs work successfully.
“That’s what the Development Agenda should be doing,” she said.
By Catherine Saez
A recent report by a United Nations agency calls for an urgent shift of paradigm in agricultural development.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published on 18 September its Trade and Environment Review 2013 subtitled, “Wake up before it is too late; Make Agriculture Truly Sustainable Now for Food Security in a Changing Climate.”
“Developing and developed countries alike need a paradigm shift in agricultural development: from a ‘green revolution’ to a ‘truly ecological intensification’ approach,” the report said.
“This implies a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high external-input-dependent industrial production towards mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers,” it said.
Over 60 international experts contributed to the report’s analysis of the topic, according to an UNCTAD press release. In particular, the report calls for correcting existing imbalances between where food is produced and where it is needed, and to adjust current trade rules for agriculture.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will hold a seminar on the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications in Geneva next week.
According to the office, the 3-4 October meeting follows the presentation of the report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, focusing on the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the cultural rights of everyone and respect for diversity at its twentieth session. The resolution requested OHCHR to convene a seminar to discuss the right of everyone to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.
Information about the seminar is available here.
The focus and objectives of the seminar are:
- “provide further clarification of the normative content of the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications; and
- clarify its relationship with other human rights and fundamental freedoms including, particularly, the right of everyone to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he or she is the author.”
OHCHR said: “Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the right “to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” as well as to the “protection of the moral and material interests resulting from scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”. The right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications is also recognised in article 15(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights affirms a number of principles applicable to ethical issues raised by medicine, life sciences and associated technologies. Perhaps the most relevant of these are found in article 15, which provides that “benefits arising from scientific research and its applications should be shared with society as a whole and within the international community, in particular with developing countries”. Benefits may take the form of special and sustainable assistance to, and acknowledgement of, the persons and groups that have taken part in the research, access to quality health care and access to scientific and technological knowledge.”
Discussion will cover, it said:
- “state obligations;
- country practices in implementation;
- scientific freedom;
- interdependence between the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications and other human rights (the rights to food and health as well as the rights of persons with disabilities)
- the relationship between the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications and intellectual property rights;
- access to information, technology and knowledge”
Indonesia has become the fifth country to initiate dispute settlement procedures at the World Trade Organization challenging an Australian public health law requiring tobacco products to be sold in plain packages as a way to discourage their use.
Indonesia notified the WTO on 20 September of its request for consultations with Australia over the law, the first step in a WTO dispute settlement case.
The other cases were brought by Ukraine, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Cuba. A key aspect of the cases is possible violation of trademark rights.
In its request, Indonesia said the tobacco measures “appear to be inconsistent with Australia’s obligations” under the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (TBT), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994, according to WTO sources.
The document is DS467 and more information will be available soon on the WTO website.
On timeline, the WTO said: “Response to the request has to be given within 10 days and the Member requested shall enter into consultations within a maximum of 30 days after the date of the receipt of the request. The maximum period of consultations is 60 days after the reception of the request, unless both parties agree otherwise.” If consultations do not settle the matter, the complainant my request a dispute panel.
Here is the status of the five cases on Australia tobacco plain packaging, from WTO:
Australia – Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks, Geographical Indications and other Plain Packaging Requirements applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging.
DS434 – Complaint by Ukraine.
Request for consultations submitted on 13 March 2012.
First panel request: 31 August 2012 (rejected by Australia)
Second panel request/panel established: 28 September 2012
A meeting was held to discuss the panellist criteria in November 2012 but Ukraine requested the suspension of a panel composition. In August 2013 Ukraine reactivated the panel composition and a new meeting was held earlier this month. The panel has not been composed yet.
DS435 – Complaint by Honduras.
Request for consultations submitted on 4 April 2012
First panel request: 16 November 2012 (rejected by Australia)
Second panel request/panel expected to be established: 25 September 2013
DS441 – Complaint by Dominican Republic.
Request for consultations submitted on 18 July 2012
First panel request: 17 December 2012 (rejected by Australia)
DS458 – Complaint by Cuba.
Request for consultations submitted on 3 May 2013
DS467 – Complaint by Indonesia
Request for consultations submitted on 20 September 2013.
By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch
A coalition of civil society organisations yesterday officially launched a set of 13 principles on the application of human rights to communication surveillance during a side event at the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva.
The 13 principles are available here.
Representatives of Privacy International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Access, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, Association for Progressive Communications, and the Center for Democracy and Technology requested to “assess their national surveillance laws and bring them into compliance with the 13 benchmarks,” including standards like legality, necessity, proportionality, adequacy, transparency, due process and the criminalisation of mass surveillance that does not follow basic standards and human rights.
The June report on massive state surveillance by Frank La Rue, UN special advisor on freedom of expression and the latest leaks from Edward Snowden had already identified examples of surveillance laws and practices that failed to comply with these standards, Katitza Rodriguez, EFF international rights director, wrote after the event. “Its time for the Human Rights Council to scrutinizes those national surveillance laws against the 13 Principles,” she said.
A special session by the HRC on privacy and state surveillance – also proposed by La Rue – has been supported by several member states, including the hosts of the 20 September side event – Austria, Germany, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Proposals for future actions include a clarification of privacy vis-a-vis state surveillance through an update of the General Comment No. 16, a new binding legal instrument to clearly limit the cross-border activities of secret services. How far governments will see such steps through is open.
Brazil, meanwhile, is considering including strict provisions for IT companies to store all data from Brazilian citizens on servers in the country, according to reports. Ecuador will host another side event Tuesday on the protection of whistleblowers alongside the HRC meeting.
For further information see press releases of the 13 principles’ sponsoring organisations and their reports from the meeting.
More than 45 percent of all patent lawsuits in the United States in 2013 have been filed in two locations, with Delaware taking top spot over the Eastern District of Texas, according to a mid-year analysis.
The concentration of patent filings in these two districts has increased this year, and through 10 September, Delaware was the top spot for new patent cases in 2013, with 1,015 new cases, just ahead of the 920 cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas, according to an analysis conducted by Perkins Coie partner James Pistorino.
The analysis looked at district court filings only, not including the International Trade Commission. It showed a continuation of the steady increase since 2008 with acceleration since the implementation of the America Invents Act earlier this year. Delaware in particular is surging, the findings show, with a projected 50 percent increase this year over 2012.
It is difficult to point to a particular reason for Delaware’s increase, Pistorino told Intellectual Property Watch by email. ”First, there has not been any fall off in how popular the Eastern District of Texas has been.,” he said. ”Instead, it is just that Delaware has become more popular than it was and about 6% more of the nationwide total of cases filed in districts other than the Eastern District of Texas are being filed in Delaware. The Delaware courts continue to be reluctant to transfer cases. Thus, plaintiffs may assess that the risk of transfer out of Delaware is lower than was thought in 2011 and the early part of 2012 thus making Delaware more attractive.”
Overall cases are on track to rise by 10 percent this year, the analysis said, though the number of defendants named in those cases appears likely to remain the same.
The Perkins Coie analysis is available here.