International Property Rights Newsletter – N.32

Section: Taxpayer Leaders Forum / WTA Blog
10 July 2015

International Property Rights Newsletter – July 6, 2015, N.32

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North America

Civil Forfeiture Now Requires A Criminal Conviction In Montana And New Mexico

Just in time for the Fourth of July, states are declaring their independence from civil forfeiture. Enabled by civil forfeiture laws, police can seize and keep property without the government ever filing criminal charges. Innocent Americans actually must prove their own innocence in court if they ever hope to regain their property. Continue Reading


S.C. Attorney General releases opinion on pipeline company’s use of eminent domain

It’s called eminent domain.  In short, government can on some occasion pay you for your property or just part of it, and use it for a public necessity.  What about a private oil company?  South Carolina’s Attorney General has an answer for us. It’s a pipeline that would pump oil from Anderson, South Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida.  But in order to make it happen, the company behind it needs access to private property. Continue Reading


NDP leader calls on Harper to defend supply management ‘in its entirety’

Prime Minister Stephen Harper should defend supply management “in its entirety” during negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, says NDP leader Tom Mulcair. Harper’s most recent remarks on the trade talks have created uncertainty for Canadian egg, poultry and dairy producers, Mulcair writes in a letter to the prime minister. Continue Reading


Cisco tops list of security-related patents

Technology company Cisco Systems owns the most network security-related patents globally, while the US and China top the associated list of jurisdictions, according to a report by a technology advisory firm. In the LexInnova report, which details the companies and jurisdictions responsible for the highest number of patents directed to security, Cisco and anti-virus company Symantec took the first two spots. Continue Reading


USPTO’s commissioner for patents retires

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has bid farewell to its commissioner for patents, Peggy Focarino, who has retired. In a guest blog posted on the USPTO website last week, Focarino reflected on her career at the office, where she has worked since 1977. Continue Reading

Trade issue exposes contradictions of the NDP

It’s been nearly three decades since Canadians fought an election over trade. The 1988 campaign, dominated by the Canada-U.S. free-trade agreement, put the country on a path toward more open borders. Once on opposite sides of the debate, the Conservatives and Liberals are now unabashedly pro-free trade. Continue Reading

Kickstarter boots rival patent into touch

A US court has found in favour of crowdfunding website Kickstarter by ruling that a patent covering a method for raising money is invalid. Continue Reading


Software company sues Ford Motor Company for $1 billion

The attorney representing a software firm suing Ford Motor Company is taking the complaint on the road, complete with gimmicks to get media attention. Lanny Davis will hold a press conference in Detroit next month in front of a fake wall with a hole punched in it, to represent his claim that Ford breached a firewall intended to protect Versata’s intellectual property. Continue Reading



International IP Law: Securing Your IP Rights in Cuba and French Polynesia

As the US begins to back off of the six decade old trade embargo of Cuba, the dilemma facing US companies is how to protect their intellectual property in this new market. Like many, Cuba is a first-to-file economy, meaning it is ripe for patent campers. Continue Reading


Europe/Eastern Europe
Beatles documentary silenced after UK court ruling

Record label Sony/ATV Music Publishing has successfully blocked a documentary film detailing the first ever concert on US shores by The Beatles from being released in the UK and US. In a judgment handed down on Wednesday, July 1, the English High Court ruled that WPMC, the company that made the film, had infringed Sony/ATV’s copyright because the film contained eight songs to which the company owns the copyright. Continue Reading


Wimbledon serves up ambush marketing warning

Wimbledon bosses have warned spectators that they will take a “firm stance” against ambush marketing and said there has been a spike in cases of advertising material being handed to guests in the queue. The tennis championship, known for its strict advertising policy and all white dress code, said that over the years there has been a “sharp increase” in free and unauthorised commercial material being given to people queuing to get into the grounds. Continue Reading


European Commission Says Compulsory Licensing can Only Happen at National Level

After being questioned by a member of the European Parliament, the European Commission (EC) says neither it nor the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have the power to acquire patents or issue a compulsory license. Continue Reading


IP Litigation & Enforcement: Nokia says patent litigation is getting tougher

Patent litigation is not as simple as “walking into a court and asserting a patent” and is becoming more difficult, the head of litigation at technology company Nokia has claimed. Speaking at the IP Litigation & Enforcement conference taking place in London today, July 2, Richard Vary told delegates that the patent system works well for single inventions but in reality litigators will find that “most actions” fail. Continue Reading


EPO consultation on boards of appeal reform to close

The European Patent Office (EPO) is nearing the end of an online consultation on its plans to reform its boards of appeal. According to the office, the consultation is working on “concrete proposals” that it will submit to its supervisory body the Administrative Council (AC) in the coming months. Continue Reading


IP Litigation & Enforcement: Scotch whisky body says counterfeits moving ‘closer to home’

A legal adviser to the organisation that protects Scotch whisky has told an industry event that while China was previously a hub for counterfeits, the problem has now moved “closer to home” and infringements are more common on European shores. Continue Reading


The Irish Times blasts Taylor Swift’s demands over image use

An Irish newspaper has refused to publish photographs of singer Taylor Swift from a recent performance in Dublin because of her allegedly strict limitations on image use. In a post on its website, The Irish Times said that although contract demands regarding images had become common in the music industry, Swift’s contract included “onerous restrictions”. Continue Reading


Poroshenko hopes Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with European Union to enter into force in early 2016

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has expressed hope that the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the EU will enter into force on January 1, 2016.’We expect that the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the European Union will start working in full from January 1, 2016. At the same time, the European Union actually unilaterally has opened its market for Ukrainian goods on the conditions of the first year of the FTA. Continue Reading


Asia/Southeast Asia
USPTO and JPO go green with PCT deal

The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has agreed to assist the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with handling Patent Cooperation Treaty applications directed towards green technology. According to a deal signed yesterday, July 1, the JPO will act as an international searching authority and international preliminary examining authority for green applications filed with the USPTO as the receiving office. Continue Reading


Indian police investigate ‘counterfeit’ Pepsi products

Police in India claim they have received a complaint that counterfeit bottles of Pepsi have been sold in Indian capital city New Delhi and that they have carried out raids in an attempt to clamp down on the practice. Pinkerton, a private security company, warned Delhi Police that “unscrupulous persons and firms” had been “resealing and refilling” counterfeit bottles of Pepsi. Continue Reading


Tianjin plans resurrection as a free-trade zone

It feels like the set of a post-apocalyptic zombie movie. Empty skyscrapers, many incomplete, overlook deserted streets. Newly planted flowers in a riverside park have no one to appreciate them. An entire city which plans to grow to about 10 times the present floor space of London’s Canary Wharf waiting for workers to fill its glass and steel towers. Continue Reading


India and Japan Sign IP Deal

The Indian government has approved an agreement with Japan aimed at improving efforts to protect intellectual property in both countries. Approved yesterday, June 24, the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) was signed by the Union Cabinet, chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Continue Reading


TPP’s fate rests with Japan, U.S.

Now that Congress has granted President Barack Obama the power to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement without interference, attention will be focused on whether he can take advantage of the reinvigorated talks to seal both the deal and his legacy before his departure in 2017. Continue Reading


Middle East/Africa

Africa creates TFTA – Cape to Cairo free-trade zone

African leaders have agreed to create the continent’s largest free-trade zone, covering 26 countries in an area from Cape Town to Cairo. The deal, signed in Egypt, is intended to ease the movement of goods across member countries which represent more than half the continent’s GDP. Since the end of colonial rule, governments have been discussing ways to boost intra-African trade. Continue Reading


U.S. State Department: We won’t protect Israeli settlements against boycott

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday punched a big hole in Israel-led efforts to induce the Obama administration to regard boycotts of settlements as identical to boycott of Israel proper. In doing so, it provided the Israeli government and the pro-Israel lobby with yet another painful lesson. Continue Reading


Qatar opens patent registration office

Qatar became the first GCC country to open a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Registration Office, making process of international patent application filing easier and more efficient. The Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has opened an ePCT, in collaboration with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to protect intellectual rights in Qatar. Continue Reading


Sudan, Ethiopia agree to establish free trade zones

Sudan’s state finance minister, Abdel-Rahman Dirar, said that Ethiopia has agreed to establish free trade zones between the two countries. Since several years, Khartoum and Addis Ababa signed a number of bilateral agreements aiming to promote and strengthen economic ties between the two countries. Continue Reading


China and Australia sign landmark free trade agreement

The governments of China and Australia signed a long-awaited “monumental” free trade agreement in Canberra on Wednesday, lifting most of the import tariffs in both countries.

The landmark signing by Australia’s Trade Minister Andrew Robb and China’s Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng finalized negotiations that began ten years ago and followed the Declaration of Intent signed in November 2014 by the two countries’ leaders, Tony Abbott and Xi Jinping. Continue Reading


New Zealand-U.S. Partnership Forum

Thank you to the New Zealand-U.S. Council for hosting us and the U.S.-New Zealand Council for supporting the relationship. Both Councils, along with this Partnership Forum, have a great record of advancing our relations. It is particularly important that you bring together government, business, military, and community leaders. It’s a pleasure to be back in Auckland. Continue Reading


White paper to plan for growth in Australia’s north

The Northern Australia white paper, promised in the lead-up to last year’s federal election, will examine the policy conditions necessary to capitalise on Northern Australia’s strengths. It will look at ways to enhance private investment, and identify critical economic and social infrastructure needed to support long-term growth. Continue Reading


Free-Trade and Property Rights

Trans-Pacific Partnership
Leaked: What’s in Obama’s trade deal

POLITICO has obtained a draft copy of TPP’s intellectual property chapter as it stood on May 11, at the start of the latest negotiating round in Guam. While U.S. trade officials would not confirm the authenticity of the document, they downplayed its importance, emphasizing that the terms of the deal are likely to change significantly as the talks enter their finals stages. Continue Reading


Pacific trade pact would link U.S. to fastest-growing economies

Despite much political wrangling, a trade deal among the United States and many Pacific Rim nations now appears likely. Congress last week gave President Obama the authority he needs to negotiate a good deal. Good thing. Continue Reading


Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
US trade vote puts TTIP on faster track

Following Congress’ hard-fought approval of “fast-track” trade authority last week, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman vowed not only to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership but an even bigger pact with the European Union and three other major trade deals – all in the 18 months remaining in President Barack Obama’s term. Continue Reading


“Hot Issue”

Plain Packaging

Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products: Stubbing Out an Unending Scourge

Dominated globally by organised crime, the illicit tobacco trade could be said to be a frightening tripod that damages legitimate business, undermines public health and facilitates the supply of tobacco to young people. The criminality involved, including the use of the proceeds to fund other crimes, has a devastating effect on individuals and communities worldwide. One may argue that illicit tobacco trade has largely been fueled by over-regulation and over –taxation of the legitimate producers of tobacco products. Continue Reading

Making Tobacco’s Case

Letters from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in
Washington to governments all over the world. Australia: In a May 2011 letter, the chamber says it is “deeply concerned” about a plain packaging proposal, saying it would not improve public health. Continue Reading


TDs want graphic warning labels on alcohol products

A new labelling system for alcohol products featuring health warnings similar to those found on tobacco products has been recommended in a new report. The report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children has called for “clear health warnings to be included on alcohol products, indicating that alcohol causes disease”. Continue Reading


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Works Globally to Fight Antismoking Measures

A parliamentary hearing was convened here in March to consider an odd remnant of Ukraine’s corrupt, pre-revolutionary government. Three years ago, Ukraine filed an international legal challenge against Australia, over Australia’s right to enact antismoking laws on its own soil. To a number of lawmakers, the case seemed absurd, and they wanted to investigate why it was even being pursued. Continue Reading

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