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Infojustice Roundup - April 8, 2013

Monday, April 08, 2013

USTR Requests Comments on the US-EU Trade Agreement; Publishes NTE Report

Last week, the U.S. Trade Representative issued a Federal Register Notice seeking comments on the upcoming trade agreement negotiations with the EU. The notice also announces that USTR will hold hearings on May 29-30 on “specific issues pertaining to the proposed negotiations.” The deadline for submitting written comments for the record, or requests to testify, is May 10. Click here for the request for comments. Also last week, USTR published its annual National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, which includes information about its concerns with intellectual property protection in 60 countries and the European Union. Click here for more.

Open Education Around the World – A 2013 Open Education Week Summary

[Creative Commons] Creative Commons congratulates all those who participated in the second annual Open Education Week March 11-15, 2013. It’s impressive to see how global open education has become with contributors from over 30 different countries showcasing their work and more than 20,000 people from over 130 countries visiting the Open Education Week website during the week. Open Education Week featured over 60 webinars open to participation from anyone and numerous local events and workshops around the world. We thought we’d highlight a few Creative Commons global affiliate events from Open Education Week and share a list of URLs for Open Education Week webinar recordings the Open Courseware Consortium has published. Click here for more.

New Seed Legislation Spells Disaster for Farmers in Africa

[Sangeeta Shashikant] Civil society organisations from the SADC region, and around the world have condemned the SADC draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights) as spelling disaster for small farmers and food security in the region. These groups, representing millions of farmers in Africa and around the world have submitted their concerns to the SADC Secretariat. They are calling for the rejection of the Protocol and urgent consultations with farmers, farmer movements and civil society before it’s too late.Click here for more.

How Flexibility Supports the Goals of Copyright Law: Fair Use and the U.S. Library Experience

[Elizabeth Hadzima, Alexandra Wood, Lila Bailey, and Jennifer Urban] This briefing paper describes how the flexibility of the fair use doctrine in United States (U.S.) copyright law helps U.S. libraries fulfill their missions and offers suggestions for how flexible limitations and exceptions, when used in conjunction with purpose-specific exceptions or other approaches, might similarly benefit libraries outside of the United States. The experience of U.S. libraries may be beneficial in understanding the valuable role that flexibility can play in creating robust copyright frameworks that can assist libraries in performing their vital public responsibilities. Increasing libraries’ capacity to perform their key activities allows the public to realize its investment in libraries and also benefits society as a whole. Click here for more.

Analysis: India’s Supreme Court Upholds Strict Patent Standards and Patients’ Right to Access to Affordable Medicines

[Brook Baker] In a stunning victory for poor patients throughout the developing world, the Indian Supreme Court today ruled against a Novartis challenge of a denial of a patent on its cancer medicine Glivec. The Court upheld strict standards in the India Patents Act thereby limiting pharmaceutical monopolies and speeding access to more affordable generic medicines. The Indian generic industry, the pharmacy of poor in the Global South that supplies over 80% of AIDS medicines for the 8 million people in low- and middle-income countries, will not have to delay introduction of medicines year after year as Big Pharma evergreens its patent monopolies by seeking new 20 year patents on minor variations to existing medicines. Click here for more.

See also:

NSF Survey on Importance of IP to Different Industries, Compared to the USTPO Report on IP in the US Economy

[Mike Palmedo] Last year the National Science Foundation published an issue brief by John Jankowski on the importance that American firms in different industries place on intellectual property. It presents survey data showing which industries rely on which types of IP: trade secrets, trademarks, utility patents, design patents, copyrights, or mask works. Firms were asked to rank these types of IP protection as “very important,” “somewhat important” or “not important.” Jankowski shows how different types of intellectual property are far more important to some industries than others. Trademarks, trade secrets and copyright were valued most by the companies in the survey, yet 84%, 85%, and 88% of all firms surveyed said these were “not important” to them. The results are more interesting when they are broken down by industry and compared to last year’s USPTO report “Intellectual Property in the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus.” Click here for more.

Law Professors Challenge Secrecy in Fracking

[David Levine] Ten law professors with expertise in intellectual property and trade secrecy wrote to the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) on April 1 in support of the Commission¹s groundbreaking proposed hydraulic fracturing (fracking) regulations that would require corporations to disclose trade secret information, like chemical ingredients, used in fracking activity in Alaska. The authors, while taking no position on whether fracking should occur in Alaska, noted that there is a debate around the environmental, health and safety (EHS) impacts, if any, of fracking. Click here for more.

Consumers International Draft Recommendation for Amendments to the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection, Art 70 on Digital Products and Services

[Consumers International] CI’s draft recommendations are open comment. Regarding electronic content, the draft recommendations include the following: “(70) Digital content products should be offered on terms equivalent to those sold in other formats, unless the consumer is clearly informed that different terms apply. This includes the normal incidences of product ownership, such as permanent possession, privacy of use, the ability to gift or resell such goods together with all of the rights with which they were first sold, and the ability to lend or perform them within a family, household or similar limited circle. To the extent required to facilitate these uses of such works, and to allow the consumer to access them at a convenient time and place, governments should allow consumers to time, space and format shift digital content products, to make temporary copies of them, and to bypass technical protection measures applied to them. Hindrance of the exercise of these rights should be prohibited by law.” Click here for the full proposal.

Draft Australian Pharmaceutical Patents Review Includes Proposal to Reduce Patent Extensions and Fund R&D Directly

[Mike Palmedo] The Australian government has released the draft report of its Pharmaceutical Patents Review, which had been tasked to “review the effectiveness of the Australian patent system in providing timely access to affordable pharmaceutical and medical treatments and supporting innovation.” The report considered domestic law on patents, data exclusivity, and pharmaceuticals, as well as Australia’s current trade obligations and its position in ongoing trade negotiations. Click here for more.

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