Thursday, January 24, 2008

WIPO comments on Antigua WTO ruling

An interesting debate has stirred over the WTO's recent ruling allowing Antigua to suspend copyright protections on certain US goods as part of a dispute resolution on online gambling. (NYTimes; Howard Knopf) The Antigua Sun reported last week on comments made by the director of the Copyright Law Division of WIPO, Jorgen Blomqvist, who raised concerns that while such suspensions might be allowed under the WTO, Antigua might nevertheless be in violation of the WIPO-administered Berne Convention if it suspended copyright protection for US goods. According to yesterday's, WIPO is now distancing itself from those comments, and legal experts are weighing in on the question.

World Congress on Combatting Piracy and South-Centre side-event

On Feb 3-5 2008 a World Congress on Combating Counterfeiting and Piracy will be held in Dubai. Feeling that this event, which is organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Interpol, the World Customs Organization, and other groups, will "lack multi-stakeholder participation, particularly from civil society," the South Centre will host a side-event on Feb 4 entitled "Policy Options for Developing Countries on the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights." According to the South Centre:
The Congress seeks to advance a global consensus on priority actions that reflect a one-sided agenda on strengthening enforcement of intellectual property rights. Though lacking official endorsement,the recommendations so far produced by the Congress provide a narrow perspective on the enforcement of intellectual property rights that unduly shift the burden of private rights enforcement to government.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

CIPO on Intellectual Property and Competetiveness

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has made a submission to the Competition Policy Review Panel. They make several points:

on trademark registration:
  • Canada should join the Madrid system of international registration of trade-marks offers trade-mark owners, which allows trade-mark owners to have their marks protected in multiple member countries by filing one application for registration with the local IP office
  • Canada should ratify the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, which would mean "more harmonized policies with respect to registration and maintenance of trade-marks, and a somewhat stronger voice for Canada in negotiating ongoing changes to the international trade-mark regime."
on patent commercialization:
  • "improving access to relevant IP data" for SMEs, since such access is "instrumental to the identification of successful commercialization partnerships both domestically and internationally"
  • "better support for technology transfer capacity in universities and promote a culture of entrepreneurship and commercialization in these settings"
on harmonization generally:
  • Although they don't mention the WIPO copyright treaties directly, they push international IP harmonization hard, arguing that a
"“tyranny of small differences” between regimes that can impose significant costs on Canadian businesses operating in foreign markets. Addressing these “small differences” through initiatives that harmonize the processes of registration and maintenance of IP rights is likely to effect a positive change in both Canada's attractiveness as a place to do business and in the global outlook of Canadian companies."

"Greater harmonization of administrative processes also allows foreign enterprises wishing to invest in or partner with Canadian firms to register and protect their intellectual property without adjusting to as many of the particularities of the Canadian IP system."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Development agenda agenda

WIPO has posted the agenda for the first meeting of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property, March 3-7 2008, online. On the agenda:

Opening of the meeting

Election of Officers

Adoption of the Agenda

Adoption of Rules of Procedure of CDIP

Consideration of Work Program for Implementation of Adopted Proposals

Future work

Summary by the Chair

Closing of the session

Friday, January 4, 2008

The future of Oldies

The CRTC has initiated a public consultation on its policy on the broadcast of hits on FM stations. Currently, English-language commercial FM stations are not allowed to play more than 50% top-40 hits on their stations. AM stations are exempt from this policy because of the many AM stations that survive by playing 'Oldies'. The consultation centres around these and other particular provisions made for special-case radio stations, asking whether the special exceptions for Oldies and other special-case stations with regard to hits should be continued.