Posts Tagged: "international law"

Plain confectionery packaging a heavy-handed response to health concerns

Legislating for tobacco-style plain packages for confectionery is a disproportionate response to the obesity crisis and strips companies of valuable trademarks, writes the Institute of Economic Affairs’ head of lifestyle economics.

‘Plain packaging’ is a policy which eliminates all branding and visual design elements on products and forces manufacturers to use state-mandated colors and typefaces to create homogenized packaging with no differentiating features. Plain packaging is currently only applied to tobacco products in a handful of countries worldwide, but if health activists have their way that will change.

Obama Administration Caves on Data Exclusivity in Historic TPP Trade Deal

In order to reach an agreement the United States granted a key concession relating to biologics, which are advanced medicines made from living organisms. Presently the United States provides 12 years of data exclusivity for these types of medicines, but the TPP agreement knocks that term down to 5 years. Sources have confirmed to me that a TPP deal that so substantially reduced biologic data exclusivity will face an uphill battle in Congress.

Seventh Global Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy Opens in Istanbul

Over 850 delegates from more than 100 countries are attending the three-day meeting from 24 to 26 April that is being chaired by the World Customs Organization (WCO) and hosted by Turkish Customs with the support of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey. United around a common goal to stop the trade in counterfeit and pirated products, the organizers and participants aim to share experiences and devise strategies to counteract this global phenomenon and the harm these goods can have on consumer health and safety, as well as intellectual property rights (IPR).

USPTO Seeking Comments on Matters Related to the Harmonization of Substantive Patent Law

At a meeting convened in October 2012, experts from the Tegernsee Group offices were tasked to collaboratively develop a joint questionnaire to aid in the acquisition and analysis of stakeholder views across jurisdictions on four issues of particular interest to harmonization of substantive patent law: grace period, publication of applications, treatment of conflicting applications, and prior user rights. It is expected that each patent office will separately administer the joint questionnaire to its respective stakeholders.

Europe Achieves Historic Agreement on Unitary Patent

The European patent with unitary effect (unitary patent) in the 25 participating states is based on two regulations, one creating the instrument, and one on the applicable language regime for the new patent. The EPO has been entrusted by 25 EU member states to deliver and administer unitary patents. The third element of the package is the creation of a unified patent litigation system set up under an international convention establishing the Unified Patent Court (UPC), a specialised court with a first and an appeal instance with exclusive jurisdiction concerning infringement and validity questions related to unitary patents. The positive vote in the Parliament became possible after the EU member states endorsed the regulations in their Competitiveness Council meeting on Monday. The unitary patent now has to be formally adopted by the EU Council and the European Parliament, which is expected soon.

Universities: Get One More Year on your PCT Patent Filing

Scientifically speaking, there is really very little time the point in time that work in a university laboratory is concrete enough to call “an invention” and capable of description in a patent application until the 30-month deadline to pursue rights in various countries around the world. What that means is that universities are constantly faced with a difficult decision. Do they undertake the expense of seeking patent protection in a variety of locations or do they forego the invention? This decision is particularly problematic for universities engaged in the life sciences where there is of necessity a very long time horizon from conception of the invention to even knowing whether there is a legitimate opportunity for commercialization.

Mexico Joins the International Trademark System

Mexico’s Secretary of Economy Bruno Ferrari deposited his country’s instrument of accession to the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks with WIPO Director General Francis Gurry on November 19, 2012, bringing the total number of members of the international trademark system to 89. The treaty will enter into force with respect to Mexico on February 19, 2013. The Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (Madrid system) offers trademark owners a cost effective, user friendly and streamlined means of protecting and managing their trademark portfolio internationally.

WIPO Assemblies Agree to Roadmaps for New IP Agreements

The WIPO Assemblies, which met from October 1-9, 2012, took stock of the Organization’s substantive work over the last year, and provided direction for the future work program. At the closing of the Assemblies, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry welcomed the “extremely constructive engagement of member states” in the work of the Organization as demonstrated in the decisions taken by the Assemblies. He underlined the progress made by member states in setting timetables for concluding negotiations on international instruments on access to copyrighted work by the visually impaired, design law and intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore.

USPTO Announces Three New Patent Prosecution Highway Partnerships

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the October 1, 2012 launch of a new Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) with the patent office of the Czech Republic, and the planned launch of two additional PPHs with the patent offices of the Philippines and Portugal in January 2013. The expedited examination in each office will allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently in each country.

Senators Submit Patent Law Treaty Implementation Act

Implementation of the Hague Treaty will also bring some welcome changes to U.S. patent law — for example, the term of design patents will extend to 15 rather than 14 years from the patent’s issue date. The exception to this will be international applications filed under the Hague Treaty, which will have a 15-year term, but that term will run from the filing date, rather than the issue date. This change will make the term more like that of utility patents, where prosecution delays count against the term of a patent stemming from an International application.

Apple’s ‘Innovative’ Australian Patent Strategy

As readers will no doubt be aware, Australia is one of the jurisdictions in which Apple is currently pursuing litigation against its Android-based smartphone and tablet competitors. The claims and counter-claims by Apple and Samsung are the subject of a trial in the Australian Federal Court in Sydney which has now been extended into the first months of 2013. According to reports, as many as 22 Apple patents have been asserted against Samsung, although it is as yet unclear how many of these will actually be pressed at trial. A number of the asserted patents are innovation patents. An ‘innovation patent’, is in many respects unique to Australia. An innovation patent provides a ‘second tier’ right, with a lower barrier to validity than the conventional inventive step test, and a shorter maximum term of protection of just eight years.

Australia and WIPO Sign Agreement in Favor of Least-Developed and Developing Countries

Australia and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today signed an agreement detailing how an AUD$2 million Australian contribution would assist least-developed and developing countries improve their intellectual property systems.

Negotiators Set to Wrap-up Talks on New Treaty to Improve Actors’ and other Performers’ Rights in Audiovisual Productions

The stage is set for a new international treaty that would extend the protection for audiovisual performers, granting them both economic and moral rights similar to those already recognized for music performers. Over 500 negotiators from WIPO’s 185 member states, as well as actors, industry and other stakeholder organizations will meet in Beijing from June 20 to 26, 2012 to finalize discussions on an international treaty to update the intellectual property rights of audiovisual performers, such as film and TV actors and actresses. The meeting will be opened on June 20, 2012 at the China World Hotel by WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and high ranking Chinese State and Beijing Municipality officials.

Study: Specialized IPR Courts Offer Many Advantageous

Information on the world’s specialized intellectual property courts can now be found in one place. The Study on Specialized Intellectual Property Courts, a joint effort published by the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), is the first study to catalog the world’s specialized intellectual property court regimes. Not surprisingly, the study concludes that governments around the world should adopt some form of specialized IPR court to handle intellectual property cases. Specialized IPR courts were found to enhance efficiency, lead to more timely resolution and foster more consistent rulings and outcomes. Such courts are also an important signal to individuals and industry that a country takes intellectual property enforcement seriously, which we in the industry know is a precursor to economic development and outside investment.

WIPO Embroiled in North Korean Computer Deal

As far as I can tell none of these goals is forwarded by the sale of computers to North Korea. Sure, North Korea is the exact type of country that WIPO has historically sought to help. Not because they are a rogue nation, aspire to have a clandestine nuclear program or because they support terrorism, but rather because the people of North Korea suffer so much and there is so little economic activity that it is misleading to even call what they have an economy. Such horribly mismanaged countries is where WIPO has done its best work, to encourage the adoption and respect of IP rights, which leads to international investment and economic development.