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Infojustice Roundup - March 18, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Civil Society Declaration – No Copyright in the US-EU Trade Agreement

[Statement by 38 Civil Society Groups] … First, we insist that the European Union and United States release, in timely and ongoing fashion, any and all negotiating or pre-negotiation texts. We believe that secretive “trade” negotiations are absolutely unacceptable forums for devising binding rules that change national non-trade laws. Second, we insist that the proposed TAFTA exclude any provisions related to patents, copyright, trademarks, data protection, geographical indications, or other forms of so-called “intellectual property”. Such provisions could impede our rights to health, culture, and free expression and otherwise affect our daily lives. Click here for more.

Thai Civil Society Letter to Indian PM Regarding the Shift In Position on TRIPS+ Provisions in the FTA Negotiation With the EU

[Eighteen Thai Civil Society Groups] We, the undersigned organizations from Thailand, are writing this letter to express our grave concern over the Indian Government’s shift in their position on the EU-India bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), which is to compromise with the EU’s demands on strict intellectual property (IP) protection, IP enforcement, investment, and other TRIPs plus provisions in the FTA that will be concluded and signed in April 2013... We are particularly concerned about maintaining a continuous supply of Indian generic medicines for use in the Universal Coverage Scheme which ensures free access to treatment for all Thais. Click here for more.

The Africa IP Forum – A Retrospective

[Carolyn Ncube] The Africa IP Forum was held in South Africa on 25-27 February 2013. The following topics were discussed: Promoting a development oriented IP system (plenary); Achieving developmental objectives, building technological capacity in Africa; WIPO Development Agenda, what it means for Africa; Access to Affordable medicines, incentivizing local production of generic medicines in Africa; Benefits of substantive examination of patents versus the depository system; Facilitating R&D into disease that predominantly affect Africa; Bridging the knowledge gap in Africa: Role of Copyright Exceptions and Limitations; Public Interest and Development Issues in IP enforcement; Achieving Food Security, Challenges and Issues in Africa; and Challenges & Issues in Protecting Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources & Traditional Cultural Expression of Africa. The exclusion of discussion PAIPO from the agenda was unfortunate but it will be on the agenda at the AU May Summit to be held in May 2013. Click here for more.

California Unveils Bill to Provide Openly Licensed, Online College Courses for Credit

[Cable Green] Today California (CA) Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (author of the CA open textbook legislation) announced that SB 520 will be amended to provide open, online college courses for credit. In short, the bill will allow CA students, enrolled in CA public colleges and universities, to take online courses from a pool of 50 high enrollment, introductory courses, offered by 3rd parties, in which CA students cannot currently gain access from their public CA university or community college. Students must already be enrolled in the CA college or university in which they want to receive credit. The 50 courses and plans for their assessment will be reviewed and approved (or not) by a faculty committee prior to being admitted into this new online course marketplace. Click here for more.

U.S. and Antigua Negotiating Solution to Online Gambling Dispute: Caribbean Nations Support Right of Cross-Retaliation

[Mike Palmedo] Antigua and Barbados’ Finance Minister has told the Caribbean press that its ambassador “is engaging officials and technicians at the office of the United States Trade Representative in Washington, DC, to try to once again bring their long-running Internet gambling dispute to an end.” This news comes after the announcement in late January that Antigua “was granted authorization by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to suspend certain concessions and obligations it has under international law to the United States in respect of intellectual property rights.” Click here for more.

Call For Papers: Law in a Changing Transnational World - A Workshop for Young Scholars

[Zvi Meitar Center for Advanced Legal Studies, Tel-Aviv University, Israel] The modern world is changing at a rapid pace, and the law is in constant reactive mode to accommodate these changes. How should the law adapt to the changing reality? Which fields of law are most affected by globalization? What are the impacts of technological developments on different fields of law? What are the obligations of nations and corporations in an era of global interdependence? Click here for more.

U.S. Concerns on Japanese Intellectual Property Protection (from 2012 NTE Report)

[Mike Palmedo] Last week Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinto announced his nation’s intention to enter the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations. To join the negotiations, Japan will need to win the consent of Australia, New Zealand and the United States (the other nations have already indicated their approval). Japan has generally strong levels of intellectual property protection, and was the first nation to ratify ACTA, so it has been suggested that its entrance might be helpful for American negotiators pushing for TRIPS-Plus intellectual property provisions in the agreement. As noted by USTR, intellectual property is one of the “most challenging issues that remain.” Click here for more.

Innovation, Intellectual Property Rights, and Economic Development: A Unified Empirical Investigation

[Paper in World Development] Authors: John Hudson and Alexandru Minea Abstract: Two important strands of literature investigate the way the effect of intellectual property rights (IPR) on innovation depends on either the initial IPR level or the level of economic development. We expand on this by studying their joint effect, in a single, unified, empirical framework. We find that the effect of IPR on innovation is more complex than previously thought, displaying important nonlinearities depending on the initial levels of both IPR and per capita GDP. The policy implications of this are examined and include the conclusion that a single global level of IPR is in general sub-optimal. Click here for the paper.

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