Posts in International

Threats and Censorship WIPO Style

It is utterly incomprehensible that an agency of the United Nations would threaten a journalist with criminal prosecution and personal civil liability for providing information contained in an official complaint filed by a whistleblower alleging misconduct. More perplexing is that WIPO and Gurry would do this at a time when the United States is moving forward to relinquish control of the Internet. Many believe it is not a good idea for the U.S. to relinquish control for precisely this very reason: censorship… In my opinion, threatening a journalist for merely reporting on newsworthy events should provide sufficient reason for everyone to rethink the allegations and dig deeper for answers.

Vonage Offers International Calls Free of Roaming Charges

Vonage has been granted three patents on ReachMe Roaming by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patents are U.S. Patent No. 8,571,060, U.S. Patent No. 8,600,364 and U.S. Patent No. 8,693,994. These patent share a common ancestry, with the ‘364 patent providing the earliest filing date, which was December 22, 2011. Both the ‘060 patent and the ‘994 patent are continuations in part of U.S. patent application Serial No. 13/492,361, filed Jun. 8, 2012, which is itself a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Serial No. 13/334,849, filed Dec. 22, 2011, which matured into the ‘364 patent.

Leveraging Spin-Out Companies to Support Global Health

IDRI granted license rights to its world-class vaccine adjuvants to Immune Design Corporation (IDC), which was established in Seattle in 2008 with a focus on cancer, allergies and certain infectious diseases. The royalties and other funds received from IDC have helped to support IDRI’s programs, and IDC’s clinical safety data relating to the adjuvants have been vital in IDRI’s ability to accelerate the development of vaccines for tuberculosis and leishmaniasis, two diseases with an immense global health burden.

WIPO Deputy Director Alleges Gurry Misconduct

ARTICLE REMOVED —   On April 11, 2014, I was contacted by Legal Counsel for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The communication alleged that publication of a complaint of misconduct and exhibits filed by the WIPO Deputy Director was defamatory and criminal under Swiss law. Legal action was threatened unless I immediately acquiesced to the demands. Here is the e-mail I…

USPTO Creates New Office of International Patent Cooperation

The USPTO today announced the creation of a new Office of International Patent Cooperation (OIPC). The OIPC will be led by Mark Powell who will serve as USPTO’s first Deputy Commissioner for International Patent Cooperation and report directly to the Commissioner for Patents Margaret (Peggy) Focarino. The establishment of the OIPC reflects USPTO’s strong commitment to work with global stakeholders and intellectual property (IP) offices to develop means to increase quality and create new efficiencies within the complex processes of international patent rights acquisition, and its commitment toward global patent harmonization, which both protects America’s ideas and makes it easier to do business abroad.

Compulsory Licenses Won’t Solve a Healthcare Crisis

Over the past two years, India has invalidated or otherwise attacked patents on 15 drugs produced by innovative pharmaceutical firms. While the claim is that this promotes lower prices and expanded access to medicines, in truth this is industrial policy not health policy. The clear beneficiaries are local generic manufacturers, not Indian patients. The majority of Indians do not need Nexavar, or any of the other patented drugs being considered for compulsory licenses. They need doctors, nurses, clinics, and hospitals. Put simply, a functioning healthcare infrastructure. Basic health statistics clearly illustrate the real problem, India currently accounts for one-third of the deaths of pregnant women and close to a quarter of all child deaths.[3] The battle for health in India will not be won with compulsory licenses. It will be won with investments of resources on the ground in local communities.

Patent Quality in China

As a result of filing the world’s highest number of patent applications, China is often attacked for trading in quality for quantity. However, Michael Lin of Marks&Clerk explains that a better understanding of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) and the Chinese patent system shows that patent quality is in fact, not declining but increasing.

U.S. Commerce Department Announces Plan to Accelerate Transition to Private Management of the Domain Name System

The immediate practical consequences for domain-name registration while the transition proposal is developed are likely to be limited. Nevertheless, while the Department’s current DNS stewardship is not ending in the short term, the contemplated private-sector supervision arrangement is likely to tend to bolster the influence that non-U.S. entities have on domain-name policy questions in the long run. That may please foreign critics of the current system while raising possible concerns about foreign governmental interference in Internet-management issues.

US No. 1 in Patent Filings at the European Patent Office

Patent filings at the European Patent Office (EPO) hit a new record in 2013, with applications coming from the US growing by 2.8% (2012: +5.1%). Last year US companies deposited 64 967, or 24.5%, of all European patent filings (2012: 63 198), which confirms the US as the No. 1 among all countries at the EPO, ahead of Japan (52 437; +1.2%) and Germany (32 022, -5.4%). It is the highest number of patents ever filed by US companies within one year at the EPO. In the last decade, European patent filings originating in the US grew an average 2.2% per year. Since 2004 the number of US patent filings in Europe has risen by more than 20%.

WIPO Meets to Begin Selection of Next Director General

We are now down to crunch time in the selection process for Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). During meetings held May 8 – 9, 2014, the General Assembly will decide who is appointed Director General for the next six-year term that will being October 1, 2014. But later this week we will have a clear indication about who that will likely be. The WIPO Coordination Committee will meet in Geneva on March 6 – 7, 2014, to nominate a candidate for appointment as the next Director General of WIPO. The four names up for consideration are: (1) Mr. Francis Gurry of Australia, who is the current Director General of WIPO; (2) Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria, who is currently Deputy Director General, Development Sector, at WIPO; (3) Ambassador Jüri Seilenthal of Estonia; and (4) Ambassador Alfredo Suescum Alfaro of Panama.

India’s IPR Policies Jeopardize its U.S. Trade Benefits

Over the past few months, a groundswell of voices in the U.S. business community and U.S. Government has arisen to express frustration with India’s IPR policies. In May, USTR’s annual Special 301 Report highlighted India for the 24th consecutive year, citing growing challenges to IPR protection which raise “serious questions regarding the future condition of the innovation climate in India across multiple sectors and disciplines.” In June, the Alliance for Fair Trade with India was launched by over a dozen leading U.S. business associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, to bring attention to India’s discriminatory trade practices, including the erosion of IPR in India. In July, Vice President Joe Biden cited IPR protection as an obstacle to expanded U.S.-India trade. Following a hearing on how India’s industrial policies are hurting U.S. companies, House Energy & Commerce Trade Subcommittee Chair Lee Terry (R-NE) introduced legislation in September to block duty-free access to U.S. markets for countries without adequate protection for intellectual property.

Will Scandal Cost Francis Gurry a Second Term at WIPO?

There is a lot at stake as WIPO picks its next Director General. Gurry himself replaced a WIPO Director General mired in scandal, and the WIPO mission is far too important to allow the agency to be tainted. Still, there is anything but complete unanimity within the patent community about who should lead WIPO moving forward. For reasons that are unexplained, Hal Wegner recently proclaimed that if Gurry is not re-elected doom and disaster would certainly follow, saying: “The slow path to destruction of the PCT through fee diversion would take place, coupled with an anti-innovation leadership.” Wegner does not explain why this would be the case, likely because there is little to no rationale reason to believe disaster would follow or that Onyeama, Seilenthal and Alfaro are anti-innovation.

Protecting Innovation is not ‘Satanic Genocide’: Intellectual Property Policy in South Africa

South Africa currently faces a stark choice between protecting and incentivizing innovation and stymying life-saving therapeutic breakthroughs. Policymakers must choose between shoring up the protections that encourage the development of medicines that enhance and extend life, or sabotaging innovation through the weakening of the patent system. South Africa is purported to have the highest number of people living with HIV in the world, people who have the most to gain from breakthrough therapies. Innovative medicines have contributed to the 85 percent decline in the death rate from HIV/AIDS since 1995. The benefits of future medicines will become a reality only if these medicines are incentivized and developed. Strong, effective IP protection is essential to that process.

What happens to IP law in 2014?

I prophesy that the best we can hope for is a Bilski-esque vague instruction (wherein our top court opined that some business methods are patentable, citing the machine or transformation test as one viable test, without pointing to other valid tests and without enlightening the confused public.) The Court is once again likely to limit software patentability in some arcane way that harms job creation and stifles economic growth. The bright side is that the Court’s failure to protect our largest growth industries may help spur the legislative branch into further action. A decade of intermittent patent reforms has created a permanent cadre of patent lobbyists very willing to focus their considerable efforts and talents on a new patent issue. It would be advantageous to the patent system if that attention were productively channeled to specifically include our emerging technologies in our patent statutes, and to legislate patent eligibility in a manner that treats 101 as the broad filter it was intended to be, while employing the other patent statutes, such as 112 and 103, to correctly provide the narrower filters.

2013 TM5 Annual Meeting Joint Statement

The Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market(Trademarks and Designs) (OHIM), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), (hereinafter referred to as the “Partners”) held the 2013 TM5 Annual Meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 5-6 December 2013.