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Why is it a big mistake to link funding of R&D costs with drug prices?:

KEI Statement at WIPO SCCR 26 December 16, 2013 re the Casting Treaty

The Monday morning session of SCCR 26 went very fast. The agenda was approved in few minutes. Two days will be about the broadcasting treaty, two days will be about libraries and archives and one day on education. 6 side events: artists resale, authors forum launch, authorized entities, IP and video games study, Libraries and archives and Museum and IP, WIPO guide.

Michelle K. Lee to become Deputy Director of the USPTO. A very high tech appointment (and that is a good thing)

USPTO has issued a press release, announcing the appointment of Michelle K. Lee as Deputy Director of the USPTO, beginning in January 13, 2014. Currently Lee is the Director of the USPTO’s Silicon Valley satellite office. The White House reportedly wanted to appoint Lee as the Director, but may have seen the Deputy position as less controversial. For the near future, Lee will be running the USPTO, and will be the most sophisticated person as regards technology to do so, at least in our memory. According to the USPTO Press Release:


December 10, 2013

We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegation for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, have just completed a four-day Ministerial meeting in Singapore where we have made substantial progress toward completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

Japan wants Webcasting back into the Casting Treaty: What happened to Broadcasting in the "Traditional" Sense?

In preparation for WIPO's upcoming Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) discussions (16 December 2013 to 20 December 2013) on a proposed Treaty for the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations, the Government of Japan submitted a new proposal, SCCR/26/6 (Draft Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations) on 28 November 2013 to be consolidated with the main negotiating text, SCCR/24/10 Corr.

29 Organizations and More than 70 Individuals Sign Letter Opposing Life Plus Seventy Year Copyright Term in TPP

29 organizations and more than 70 individuals signed on to the final letter opposing copyright terms of life plus seventy years in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). A PDF version of the final letter is attached below. An earlier version of the letter with a substantial number of signatures was sent to all lead IP negotiators and all chief negotiators in the TPP on Friday, 6 December 2013, in advance of the TPP ministerial.

6 Members of Congress Write to President Obama on TPP and Access to Health Care, Criticize Closed Door Negotiations

On 9 December 2013, six members of Congress sent a letter to President Obama citing concerns in the TPP regarding access to health care and affordable medicines. The six members include Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), George Miller (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Peter Welch (D-MA). The letter primarily addresses efforts by USTR that result in greater monopoly power and delay entry of generic medicines, and how such efforts will affect state and federal budgets.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Criticizes Copyright Provisions in Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

On December 5, 2013, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) participated in a press conference where she criticized the copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). In particular, she noted three specific concerns including exporting lengthy copyright term, restrictions on copyright limitations and exceptions, and locking in bad provisions on technological protection measures (TPMs). The full press release is reprinted below:

Rep. Zoe Lofgren on Emerging & Controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Treaty

Joe Stiglitz writes open letter to TPP negotiators

Professor Joseph Stiglitz has written an open letter to the TPP negotiators, asking that they resist proposals to weaken consumer rights in intellectual property. The letter identifies 12 specific "grave risks" in the IP Chapter, and calls upon negotiators to publish the investor state dispute resolution text.

TPP: Waxman letter to USTR opposing 12 year term of biologics exclusivity

In a 6 December 2013 letter, Representative Henry Waxman wrote to USTR Ambassador Michael Froman opposing USTR's proposal of a term of 12 years of exclusivity for biologics in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The letter notes,

[w]hile I have worked closely with Senator Hatch on important health issues, including the generic drug law that we co-authored in 1984, I strongly disagreed that the United States should be proposing twelve years of exclusivity.

Areas where USTR has shown some flexibility on the TPP IPR Chapter

USTR recently asked KEI if there were areas in the IP Chapter where we approved of the positions taken by USTR, and the answer is, yes. Given how critical we have been about the text, I will mention a few here.

USTR now "supports a more flexible approach under which partners could retain reasonable patent pre-grant opposition procedures." This is welcome, and useful.

Katy Athersuch of MSF reports from WHO Experts meeting on R&D demonstration projects

In a word, MSF is disappointed.

Vatican criticizes Trans Pacific Partnership: Holy See statement to 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali

The 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is taking place in Bali, Indonesia from 3-6 December 2013. At the Ministerial, H.E. Archbishop, Silvano M. Tomasi, Apostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva delivered a withering critique of the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Rich, and not rich, in the TPP, as regards certain IPR obligations involving medical technologies

On November 28, 2013, I wrote a blog about the problems in using the World Bank's definition of high income, in the specifc context of a proposal by the United States to use this as a measure of which countries in the TPP should have lower standards for intellectual property rights on medical inventions. (See:

Here a different metric is presented, based upon relative incomes, benchmarked against the five highest income countries in the TPP with a population of more than 1 million persons.

Sign-on Letter -- Against life + 70 year copyright term in the TPP

This is sign-on letter -- Against life + 70 year copyright term in the TPP. See end of letter for details on how to sign.

<-------------------begin letter-----------
December 9, 2013

Dear TPP negotiators,

In a December 7-10 meeting in Singapore you will be asked to endorse a binding obligation to grant copyright protection for 70 years after the death of an author. We urge you to reject the life + 70 year term for copyright.

TPP: Senator Hatch to USTR, 12 years of IPR for Biologics test data, no restrictions on cross border data flows

In a December 2, 2013 letter, Senator Orrin Hatch wrote to USTR's Michael Froman, suggesting TPP exclude any countries that do not meet "high levels of ambition." According to Hatch, these high ambitions include agreeing to 12 years of exclusive rights for IPR in biologic drug test data, and the elimination of barriers to cross border data flows (a privacy issue). A copy of the Hatch letter is attached below.

The timing of the Hatch letter is designed to pressure countries meeting in Singapore on December 7-10 in the TPP negotiation, on these two contentious issues.

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