Top IP-Watch Stories Of 2017: What Do They Tell Us About Multilateral IP Policy? 04/01/2018 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)What Intellectual Property Watch stories were readers reading most in 2017, and what does it say about the state of global intellectual property policy? In this article, we look at the most-trafficked stories of last year, and make a few assumptions. Asia, Europe, trade, health. These were the top targets of interest to readers among our offerings. Interestingly, despite all the sound and fury in Washington, our coverage there was not at the top of the list. Even more interestingly, neither was our extensive and world-leading coverage of the World Intellectual Property Organization. The top 10 stories of the past year – out of more than 800 published – showed surprising range and diversity, perhaps indicative of the field of international IP policy itself. They included: two old opinion pieces on Indian copyright law (1st and 4th, here and here); an article on the European Court of Justice tightening the screws on streaming; cries of colonialism by African ambassadors in the final days of the World Health Organization director election; an old one on an Indian Supreme Court decision on a Novartis patent; German publishers standing up to Elsevier; entry into effect of the first amendment to World Trade Organization IP rules; charges that China is still weak on IP rights protection after 15 years of WTO membership; the European Patent Office’s director’s days being numbered; and the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on the pharma industry. The next 10 top stories included the topics of: best ways to guard your IP; US Supreme Court adoption of international exhaustion of patent rights, paving the way for downward pressure on drug prices; the new UN Technology Bank for least-developed countries; an argument that fair dealing is not destroying Canada publishing; the process for election of the new WHO director general; a showcase of WHO director general candidates’ campaigns; an EPO staff call for general strikes against the president’s reform plans; the WHO fair pricing forum in the Netherlands; Malaysia’s grant of a compulsory licence on sofosbuvir despite a Gilead licence (here and here); and a look at who owns the IP rights in machine-created inventions. Other top subjects included (not in order): the EU-Mercosur trade negotiations; the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) moving toward copyright enforcement; a panel on e-commerce (or digital trade) offering opportunities to small and medium businesses, as part of the annual UNCTAD eCommerce Week; an interview with an academic on fair use and expressive machine learning; the threat to TRIPS flexibilities of investor-state disputes; a look at IP rights and 3D printing; the new WHO leadership team; a look at biologics market exclusivity; the report of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines (also here); industry concerns about a hiring freeze at the US Patent and Trademark Office; and issues around the EU copyright reform., which also saw a discussion captured in a story titled, “Mining Is The New Reading“. Other topical articles were on negotiating access to university IP, and public interest and gene editing. And several other articles on China also were among the top, such as this one. A notably popular story only a few weeks old and already in the top 40 was our report on a set of decisions about the EPO handed down by an International Labour Organization tribunal in early December that among other things ordered the reinstatement of an EPO Appeals judge. Still other topics included the new Geneva Health Campus (where IP-Watch will now be joined by the Global Fund, GAVI, Unitaid and others); the internet of things; a book on WIPO and traditional knowledge; foreigners finding themselves targets of US copyright law; the Gates Foundation (for instance here); the WHO Executive Board dropping the word “counterfeit” from use; a new open source licence for seeds; the first-ever G20 health ministers’ meeting; a Commission paper on Brexit and IP , and our extensive reporting on the annual World Health Assembly in May, such as here. Note that the statistics on the number of hits are cumulative, so stories published earlier in the year or late in the prior year often get more play just by being out longer. All of the top 15 stories were from the first half of the year or earlier. Is Multilateralism Dead? So what does this list of most-read stories mean? For one, it is notable for what is missing. We published over 120 stories during the year on the World Intellectual Property Organization, a large percentage of our total 825 articles published over the year. Our WIPO stories followed every detail of negotiating committees as well as some administrative issues and highlights of new services and reports offered by the UN agency. A top 100 story was on a WIPO committee discussion on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), about as multilateral as it gets. And yet WIPO barely cracked the top 50 most-read and nearly missed even the top 100 most-read stories for the year. Why? Has WIPO become irrelevant? We’ll be asking that question too, but on its face, the fact that WIPO committees seem to be stuck in disagreement, there was no major treaty negotiation, nor an election or any scandal at WIPO in 2017, might have had something to do with it. We also acknowledge that WIPO is a technical agency with missions that are of greatest interest to specific, and limited, audiences. At least so far, it is still not a household name, but given the general acceptance of IP issues nowadays and the important work WIPO does, we believe it might be soon. Meanwhile, you can be sure we will be assessing and innovating our coverage of WIPO. Or is there a general diffusion of interest in multilateral institutions and activities, à la US President Trump? The readership results suggest the latter is not as much the case as is commonly thought. Readership of our coverage of other institutions like WTO and WHO, not to mention UNCTAD and the broader UN, remained strong, though it might be worth checking back later to see how the second half of the year went. Maybe we’re just not seeing the Trump Effect in the most-read articles yet, as the end of his first year in office is only now coming to a close. Not to ignore it, we will plan to step up our coverage of US policy, but will keep it in the global context in which we are expert. And we will not lose a step in our leading core coverage of multilateral institutions. In general, our coverage of global health policy was well-received, and interest continues to climb. This mirrors the rise in activity in Geneva in health issues, which is evermore being covered by our Global Health Policy News. We also cover many internet governance and food security policy issues, and we believe that so far we have not fully captured the available readership for these. And as the top-read list shows, IP-Watch covers a wide range of the top global IP policy issues wherever they occur, whether in Geneva or elsewhere, whether in multilateral organisations or not. IP-Watch the Research Tool Meanwhile, we also noticed that our “category” and administrative pages get a lot of traffic, the home page by far the most of anything, followed in the top 30 or so destinations by Subscription Information (top 5, hopefully positively), About (6th), Patent Policy (9th), Login Submit (uh oh), Copyright Policy, Health, and User Login. People are continuing to discover who we are and trying to use our content, and we will be conducting an analysis on how we can best serve the market. An editor’s note here that we really do not like to put stories behind password, but it does successfully get many readers to contribute to us who unfortunately otherwise just don’t. If and when we manage to get a donation or foundation support big enough to carry our small budget for a few years, we could hopefully finally let go of password protection and let our content travel freely. Here’s hoping! Image Credits: https://www.ip-watch.org/ Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related William New may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Top IP-Watch Stories Of 2017: What Do They Tell Us About Multilateral IP Policy?" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.