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Judge rejects USTR claim that negotiating position in FTAA investment chapter is exempt from FOIA

In a somewhat unexpected and encouraging ruling, on April 12, 2011, the District Court for the District of Columbia rejected USTR claims that the release of certain documents relating to a trade negotiations can be shielded from the FOIA.

The case involves a FOIA dispute between the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the the United States Trade Representative's (USTR) over documents revealing the US negotiating position on the Investment Chapter in the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA).

Confirmation that Obama Administration was "lone hold out" for releasing bracketed ACTA text to the public in Summer of 2010.

On July 1, 2010, William Yue, the Senior Counsel, Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce at the US Department of Commerce, wrote to Joel Blank and John Cobau about the ACTA negotiations. John Cobau was the Chief Counsel for International Commerce at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Joel Blank was International Attorney-Advisor at US Department of Commerce.

A redacted version of this email was the only document released to KEI as part of a larger FOIA request concerning the Department of Commerce role in the ACTA negotiations. A copy is available here:

Ambassador Kirk's responses to Senate Finance Committee suggests enforcement of TRIPS-plus data exclusivity measures

Recently, Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) responded to follow up questions from the U.S. Senate Finance Committee regarding the 2011 Trade Agenda. In addition to asserting that the U.S. Congress is not bound by ACTA, the responses suggest USTR desire to establish requirements for the implementation of data exclusivity provisions.

Six NGOs present recommendations for Moscow WHO forum on non-communicable diseases

Six NGOs, including Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Oxfam, Third World Network (TWN), Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), and Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network (YP-CDN), recently submitted recommendations to Member States to control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries in advance of the Moscow Ministerial conference.

A PDF of the joint statement with logos of the groups is available here:
http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/ncd-6healthngos-moscow.pdf

Homeland Security's 2008 letter to USTR: ACTA is a threat to national security

On August 7, 2008, Stewart Baker, the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security, sent a one page letter and a three page "Policy Position on Border Measures of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement."

Stewart Baker was the General Counsel of the National Security Agency from 1992 to 1994, and was appointed the first Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by George W Bush.

White House rejects administrative appeal on FOIA request for CRS study of ACTA

KEI just received the attached letter from the Executive Office of the President's Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) rejecting our appeal of USTRs decision to withhold a study by the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service on ACTA that was done for Senator Wyden.

http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/USTR_20April2011_FOIA_APPEAL--CaseFile_no_10101455.pdf

US Congress is not bound by ACTA, according to White House answers to Senate Finance on ACTA and TPP negotiations

Ambassador Ron Kirk holds the office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) in the White House. On March 9, 2011, he testified before the US Senate Finance Committee on the 2011 Trade Agenda. Several members of the Committee provided follow up questions, and Ambassador Kirk has answered them. A full copy of the responses are available here:

http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/RonKirk_SFC_9Mar2011.pdf

15 April European Union proposal: 3 to 5 year delay in negotiations on a copyright treaty for blind persons

Attached is a PDF of the proposal by the European Union that was presented at the April 15, 2011 informals in Geneva, held at the US Embassy. The European Union now proposes that WIPO adopt a soft non-binding recommendation on cross border sharing of accessible works, and then monitor progress on the issue for 3 to 5 years.

HIF in the European Parliament

Today there will be a presentation at the European Parliament on the Health Impact Fund. Below are a few earlier KEI blogs about the HIF.

April 2011 report on negotiations for a WIPO copyright treaty for persons who are blind or have other disabilities

KEI Research Note 2011:1
April 7, 2011

Background and update on negotiations for a WIPO copyright treaty for persons who are blind or have other disabilities

Introduction

US provides misleading answer to WIPO questionnaire on export of accessible works under US law

Although domestic law in the US provides for certain exceptions and limitations from infringement of copyright for the production of accessible works for the visually impaired, as well as importation and exportation of these materials, the law is ambiguous and insufficient in allowing non-profit entities or government agencies to export these works.

KEI presentation to the WHO Consultive Expert Working Group on R&D

Attached below are two PDF files that were used in my presentation today at the 1st meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO). I did not following the text that closely. The WHO is making a video of all of the presentations, which will be made available later.

Federal Circuit hears oral arguments on patent eligibility of DNA claims

On Monday, April 4, 2011, a panel of three Federal Circuit judges heard oral arguments about the patentability of the BRCA 1/2 gene claims in American Molecular Pathology, et. al, v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et. al.. The panel included Judge Lourie, Judge Bryson and Judge Moore. Gregory Castanias from Jones Day argued for Myriad's position, defending the DNA claims while Chris Hansen of the ACLU argued against the patentability of the claims. The U.S.

MEPs Marietje Schaake and Christian Engstrom submit question on appointment of Maria Martin-Prat to EU copyright post

70879-christian-engstrom-parti-pirate-suedois_250x350.jpg marietje-1.jpg On April 1, 2011, Marietje SCHAAKE and Christian ENGSTRÖM submitted a parliamentary question on the appointment of Maria Martin-Part as the new head of unit for copy

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