For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Friday, 26 May 2006

A FATE WORSE THAN BETH; PEOPLE'S TRADE AGREEMENT


A fate worse than Beth

Yesterday evening, under the auspices of the Institute for Public Policy Research, IPKat co-blogmeister Jeremy attended a presentation by New York University Law School's Professor Beth Noveck, "The Peer to Patent Project: Community Patent Review". A swift but inattentive reader, Jeremy saw the words "Community patent" and opted to attend in the comfortable knowledge that he would be learning something about Community patents. Fortunately, he came away with something far more precious.

Professor Noveck treated her small but select audience to a magnificent articulation of two things: (i) the desirability of involving a wider community than merely patent examiners in the assessment of the validity of patent applications, particularly with regard to prior art and (ii) the feasibility of doing so. Citing instances of peer power being harnessed by modern electronic media - the best example being Wikipedia - she then explained the basis of a pilot study to be undertaken in the United States. Professor Noveck's presentation was followed by a supporting talk by Roger Burt (IP law counsel, IBM Europe) on why peer-to-patent review of patent applications was worth attempting in an effort to secure fewer, but clearer and more presumptively valid patents.

The IPKat says, there's a lot to be said for this imaginative attempt to speed up patent examination while also making it more reliable. Leaving things the way they are now, not just in the US but wherever patent examiners are overworked and under-resourced, would be a fate worse than Beth.

Right: it's a dog's life for patent examiners ...

Merpel agrees: the UK Patent Office already supports a web-based scheme for interested members of the public to comment when the Comptroller is asked to give a non-binding opinion on a patent's validity or on an infringement issue. While it's early days yet, she's sure that this will yield more than a cosmetic dividend.

Peer to patent project here


People's Trade Agreement

The IPKat's amico italiano Andrea Glorioso has drawn his attention to the People's Trade Agreement. Struck between the Presidents of Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela on 29 April, the PTA has some content which is of interest/relevance to those of us who are concerned with IP.

Right: Bolivian president Evo Morales, a leading force behind the FTA

Andrea suggests we look in particular at

* Article 3 (transfer of technology)

* Article 4 (exceptions to copyright? mass acquisition of rights by the government?)

* Article 10 (protection of cultural diversity? copyright? traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expresions?)

* Article 11 (broadcasters' rights?)

* Article 13 (again, technology and know-how transfer).
The accompanying Action Plan also features those two popular gate-crashers at the Great IP Banquet, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

Left: will fat cats get a raw deal from the FTA?

Not yet having had the time to read it himself, the IPKat suggests we bear this in mind, read it carefully and judge it on its merits. If its content is inimical to IP or misconceives its rationale, we should not shout it down but should carefully address the issues it raises. That way we'll all be the wiser. Merpel says, is this the way that developing countries will seek to face down US-friendly Free Trade Ageements? Let's watch this space and see what happens.

Traditional cultural expressions here (not for those of a delicate disposition)

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