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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

US TPP agreement draft IPR chapter disclosed

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), is an initiative driven by the US to liberalize trade in certain APEC countries. It is a little contentious because most of the negotiations are behind closed doors. Vietnam and Malaysia are involved in SE Asia.

There is an IPRs chapter of the TPP which has been kept confidential to date. It has been released unofficially and contains a number of TRIPS + requirements. IP Komodo has read the trademark and patents sections, but not the lengthy copyright one or the provisions on enforcement. Some of the additional requirements include:

- to sign up to various recent IPR treaties, such as the WIPO copyright treaties and the Singapore Trademark Law treaty
- nontraditional trademark rights must be granted e.g. for sounds
- use of GIs may still be trademark infringement, and GIs may not be used where trademark confusion results (reflecting a US focus)
- online filing and searching for trademarks must be provided
- there are rules on when GIs may become generic (again a US focus)
- the UDRP system is mandated
- patentability must include new uses and forms of known products as well as diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical  methods of treatment. 
- Bolar provisions are required (provisions covering research into patented articles)

As you can see it is intended that signatory states adopt US style IPR provisions. It is hard to see Vietnam putting some of these into effect without clashing with others, a good example being GI rules, which the EU has been working to promote in South East As
ia.

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