Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and IP

The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is still off and on. TPP negotiations in Washington this week on various free trade matters including IPRs broke down again.  The TPP is an initiative from the United States which aims to grow trade and investment in Asia-Pacific. The partners are Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and from SE Asia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Controversially the TPP includes stronger standards for IPR protection and a number of emerging 21st century IP issues. However its application to emerging economies is worrying many people.

The TPP agreement previously made the news for the wrong reasons. Secretive, unbalanced, leaked by Wikileaks, contentious and so on. It includes a number of emerging markets including like Vietnam which have IP systems far less developed than the others and perhaps not able to cope with sophisticated issues.
Areas of international public concern relate to medicines, publishers, ISPs, criminal offences and biological patents. They include:
restrictions on the making of ‘temporary copies’ of copyright works in electronic form
  • allowing the patentability of surgical methods
  • placing limitations on access to affordable medicines
  • making ISPs responsible for policing copyright infringement
  • lengthening the term of copyright protection.
Criticism from the online community has been directed towards the so-called hard line approach being taken by the US. The access to medicines lobby complain that these provisions will harm public health. So far the draft chapter seen from the WikiLeaks release is complex and convoluted. The negations are broken but not over yet.

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