More on PIIPA

Last month the IPKat posted a short feature on Public Interest Intellectual Property Advisors (PIIPA), wondering who or what it was and posing a few questions about it. Since then, Michael Gollin of PIIPA posted a Comment on the IPKat's earlier blog. Because comments at the bottom of a posted blog are often missed, the Kat is taking the opportunity of reproducing extracts from Michael's comment here:

"Q1. Where does PIIPA get its backing from, financially and politically?

A1. PIIPA was founded in 2002 by an international group of volunteers and has received support from the Rockefeller Foundation, the UK Department for International Development, the Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Fogarty International Center of the US National Institutes of Health, the Smithsonian Institution and Venable LLP, the Washington DC law firm where I am a partner and pro bono volunteer for PIIPA.

Q2. What is PIIPA's standing with WIPO, WTO and other international organisations that take an active part in IP matters?

A2. PIIPA was incorporated under US law and qualified as a 501(c)(c) tax exempt charitable organization. WIPO awarded PIIPA permanent observer status. PIIPA includes representatives from numerous international organizations on its International Advisory Committee and there is widespread recognition that the PIIPA Survey will provide the first objective, global, grassroots measure of the specific needs for public interest intellectual property assistance in the developing world. The results will be made publicly available through presentations and publications and should help PIIPA and policy makers direct resources to where they are most needed.

Q3. Whatever happened to PIIPA's 2005 Survey - and to what use will the 2006 Survey be put?

A3. The 2005 Survey was used as a test and had a surprisingly high response rate (over 100% due to email forwarding). There were over 100 responses, identifying about 60 developing country organizations that might need pro bono intellectual property assistance, and about 30 specific projects where help is needed.

Q4. Has any reader actively benefited from any PIIPA activity, or does anyone know of someone who has?

A4. PIIPA has improved access to justice in over 50 projects pending or completed. Some are summarized on the website and in PIIPA's newsletters. PIIPA volunteers have helped NGOs and developing country agencies with negotiating agreements, conducting freedom to operate opinions, asserting rights, challenging patents, and other projects involving all the sectors (including health, biodiversity, traditional knowledge and agriculture). The results of the PIIPA Survey will show that a massive expansion of the global pro bono effort is required to meet demand. Volunteers and applicants seeking assistance are encouraged to visit".
Meanwhile, the IPKat has received responses from just three readers. Two emailed him to mention that the PIIPA project was supported by Venable. A third, Matthew Rippon (Watson Burton), wrote in to say this:

"After reading this article in The Lawyer I contacted PIIPA to offer my services. It is essentially an agency to put those in the developing world who are in need of help in touch with practitioners in the west/north who are prepared to give it free of charge. On a slow August day I duly registered my services and have since found that I have not been inundated by the aggrieved of the the third world. In fact, even though I went so far as to add the logo to my email signature (with their permission of course) I have not received so much as one single query.

I can only imagine that this is because

* western corporations are not on a wild IP landgrab in the developing world and it is all so much tabloid hoo-ha, or

* PIIPA is as unknown to those in the third world as it is to you [editor's note: that's me, the IPKat], or

* my registration details have made no impression whatsoever on those interested".
The IPKat thanks Michael and Matthew for their information. Meanwhile, he will watch and see what happens.

Thanks again, says the Kat

The IPKat wants to say thanks again to all of you who have participated in the blog's activities in the past month, as well as those of you who have just visited it for a quick read.

Left: the IPKat - ever-vigilant in the search for news and comment.

In January we published the results of our first two really big competitions - the Limerick Competition and the Cat Caption Contest - which carried prizes, in the form of free entry to IP conferences, to the value of £1,245 (that's £495 for the Limericks plus £750 for the Cat Caption). Watch this blog for details of further prize contests.

January was also another record-breaking month for the IPKat. Last month the site recorded 13,209 visits (that's the first time we've cracked the 13,000 barrier) and in the past two weeks we've also notched up 3,224 and 3,258 visits respectively - that's two successive 'bests'. Meanwhile our email circular list, for those who'd rather have the latest blogs delivered directly to them, has risen from 322 at the end of December to 370 yesterday.

Please do keep on visiting. Your comments, your emails, your reassuring presence at the other end of cyberspace all combine to make the IPKat and Merpel feel they're not alone in the vast cosmos and that other IP enthusiasts are only a couple of clicks away.

Right: a rare sighting of Merpel, behind a rock.

Merpel says, I thank you too ...!
MORE ON PIIPA; THE IPKAT SAYS THANKS AGAIN MORE ON PIIPA; THE IPKAT SAYS THANKS AGAIN Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, February 01, 2006 Rating: 5

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