- Singapore Launches Public Consultation on its Copyright Regime: The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) launched a public consultation to gather public feedback on proposed changes to Singapore’s copyright regime on August 23, 2016. The review seeks to ensure that Singapore’s copyright regime continues to provide an environment that benefits both creators and users in view of technological developments in the past decade. A summary of the issues under consultation can be found in Annex A. The public consultation will run for two months, ending on October 24, 2016 (5pm). Members of the public are invited to submit their views online via http://www.mlaw.gov.sg/CopyrightReview or in hard copy to the following address:
Intellectual Property Policy Division
Ministry of Law
100 High Street
#08-02, The Treasury
- WIPO Appoints New Legal Counsel: WIPO has recently appointed Frits Bontekoe to head its legal team.Frits will be replacing Edward Kwakwa who now is a senior director of the WIPO Department of Traditional Knowledge and Global Challenges, in the Global Issues Sector. Frits joins WIPO from his previous role as legal counsel at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). More on that here.
- WIPO Publishes Global Innovation Index 2016: Last week, we mentioned that the results of the Global Innovation Index 2016 would be released soon. Well, the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, was released by Cornell University, INSEAD and WIPO on August 15, 2016 with Switzerland, Sweden, UK, USA, Finland, Singapore taking the lead. For the first time, a middle-income country (China) has joined the ranks of the world’s 25 most-innovative economies since inception of the survey. More on that here.
- India Launches first IP Crime Unit: In order deal with the menace of piracy, the state of Telangana, India has launched India’s first IP Crime Unit – Telangana Intellectual Property Crime Unit (TIPCU). The Unit is modeled upon UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and will operate under the cyber crime wing of the CID. TIPCU’s main task will be to monitor online piracy and recommend blocking of websites providing pirated contents, identify the perpetrators and pursue action. More here, here and here.
- Readers of WIPO Magazine have been invited to complete this survey ‘to better understand your interests and reading habits so that we can deliver the content you want to read in the formats you prefer’. The survey will close on September 9, 2016.
- WIPO to Open External Offices in Africa: Following the submission of hosting proposals by African Member States in respect of hosting WIPO external offices, voting was held in Geneva on August 4, 2016 and Algeria and Nigerian were chosen to host WIPO external offices for North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa respectively. Only six African countries (Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya and Nigeria) filed their hosting applications before the deadlines set by the United Nations. More on that here and here. The hosting proposals can also be read here.
- Ghana IP Registry Closed Due to Strike Action: Following the nationwide strike action embarked on by the Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOSSAG) on July 27, 2016, of which the Ghana Intellectual Property Registry staff are members, the Ghana IP Registry remains closed. The strike is due to government’s failure to pay CLOSSAG members interim premium (a monetary incentive paid to attract and retain critical skills in short supply). More on that here and here.
Ed Sheeran is being sued by the family of a co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” who believe that Ed Sheeran’s hit, “Thinking Out Loud” is based on it. More on that here.
- WIPO to release Global Innovation Index 2016: The results of the Global Innovation Index 2016 will be released on August 15, 2016 at a press conference in the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Global Innovation Index (GII) 2016 will focus on global innovation networks, ranking the innovation performance of 128 countries and economies around the world, based on 82 indicators. Follow the press conference live and join the conversation using #GII2016.
- Commitment on Investment in Access to Essential Medicines Signed at UNCTAD14: On July 21, 2016, UNAIDS and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the African Union (AU), and the Kenyan and South African governments signed a commitment at the 14th session of UNCTAD to facilitate investment in Africa’s pharmaceutical industry in order to boost the sector’s production and make available essential medicines for millions of needy people. The commitment named Nairobi Statement on Investment in Access to Medicines aims at spurring, particularly, the manufacture of antiretroviral medicines in the continent worst affected by HIV and AIDS. The commitment is in line with the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health, which emphasises access to essential medicines for all (No 3), innovation and domestic technology development (No 9) and on international cooperation and policy coherence (No 17).
- SAP/SEP Suffers a Huge Blow: A joint Australia-New Zealand proposal for a unified patent application and examination process appears to have been mooted following its rejection by the New Zealand Parliament’s Commerce Committee on the basis that the purported benefits of the mechanisms either do not exist, or are outweighed by the costs. The proposed single application process (SAP), and single examination process (SEP), was simple – to allow applicants wanting to obtain patents in both Australia and New Zealand to file one common application which would be subject to search and examination by an examiner either at IP Australia or at the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ). More on that here.
- Marrakesh Treaty to enter into force soon: Canada recently became the key 20th nation to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, which will bring the Treaty into force by September 30, 2016. Stevie Wonder, a longtime supporter of the Treaty has this to say.
Japan Establishes Overseas Intellectual Property Litigation Insurance Scheme Established for SMEs: The Japan Patent Office (JPO) has established Japan’s first insurance scheme to cover the cost of overseas intellectual property (IP) litigation, to provide a safety net for SMEs that become embroiled in disputes over IP infringements in other countries. The premium will be halved for SMEs enrolling in this insurance scheme if they belong to a nationwide organization that includes SMEs among its members. More on that here.
- Medicines Patent Pool Signs New Round of Generic Manufacturing Licences for HIV and Hepatitis C Treatments: Earlier this month, the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) announced new generic manufacturing licences for four antiretrovirals and hepatitis C direct-acting antiviral daclatasvir. The organisation signed licences with Aurobindo, Desano, Emcure, Hetero Labs, Laurus Labs, Lupin and new partner Zydus Cadila for a total of nine new sub-licensing agreements to produce generic versions of key World Health Organization-priority HIV and hepatitis C treatments. According to MPP’s Executive Director – Greg Perry, it is expected that these new sub-licences will secure greater volumes of low-cost medicines for people living with HIV and hepatitis C in low- and middle-income countries.
British IP Day: July 5, 2016 marked the first British IP Day intended to celebrate the huge contribution that Intellectual Property (IP) makes to the UK. More on that here.
V4 Countries Launch Visegrad Patent Institute: The four member states of the Visegrad Group (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia) launched the Visegrad Patent Institute (VPI) on July 1, 2016. The Institute is aimed at strengthening regional cooperation in IP. Applicants will be allowed to communicate with the institutions in their respective mother tongues, and fees for Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications will be reduced by as much as 40 percent, according to Poland’s Patent Office (UPRP).
Intellectual property fees rise by up to 6,200% in Gulf countries: IP fees have risen in Arabian Gulf countries (UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) by as much as 6,200%. While there has been no official explanation from the governments of the affected countries, some lawyers believe that the hike may not be unconnected to attempts to increase revenue following the global oil price slump as well as the move by the Gulf countries to unify their trademark laws and move services online. More on that here.
Thomson Reuters to Sell Intellectual Property and Science Business: Plans are underway for Thomson Reuters Corp. to sell its intellectual property and science business to private-equity funds affiliated with Onex Corp. and Baring Private Equity Asia for $3.55 billion in cash. About $1 billion of the proceeds will be used to buy back shares and the balance will be used to pay down debt and reinvest in the business.
That’s all folks!
Really, that’s all.
Okay, there’s more, but I suppose we all know that the result of the EU Referendum has without a doubt cast a shadow over any other news, but even then, life goes on.
- BREXIT – United Kindgdom votes to leave the European Union: On Friday June 24, 2016, many people (including the Lady) woke up to the news that majority in the UK had voted in favour of Brexit. Well, majority in London, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted against Brexit. The lady spent the entire day on this BBC webpage following the developments. How does this affect IP you ask. Well, if you are an ardent reader of the Manor, we covered that in previous editions of our Saturday Reads. Nevertheless, the links in our most recent Saturday Reads pretty much sums up all you need to know about the impact of Brexit on the IP community. You can catch up on all of that here.
- Innovation Prize for Africa Announces 2016 Winners: Big winners from this year’s edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) awards are Dr Valentin Agon for his ground-breaking anti-malarial drug (Api-Palu) made from natural plant extracts; Dr Imogen Wright for her software aimed at testing for HIV drug-resistance medication; and Dr Eddy Agbo for developing a cheap, simple urine test for malaria. More on that here.
Scientists create new bio-ink for 3D printing: Scientists from the University of Bristol have found a new bio-ink for 3D printing with stem cells that allows printing of living tissue known as bio-printing. The new bio-ink contains two different polymer components: a natural polymer extracted from seaweed and a sacrificial synthetic polymer used in the medical industry. Read more here. The Lady may or may not have revealed her vested interests in this emerging field of technology in this post.
India may lose its position as the ‘pharmacy of the world’: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has warned that if India adopts the proposals contained in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement (RCEP), the country will not remain ‘pharmacy of the developing world’. The RCEP, which has been likened to the infamous US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, is a regional trade agreement being negotiated between the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries currently in Auckland. More on that here.
Tanzania ‘cuts off 630,000’ counterfeit phones: We love to see governments take a bold stand against counterfeiting and this is exactly what the Tanzanian government has done. This BBC report says that according to official figures, about 3% of mobile phones in Tanzania are fake. In December 2015, Tanzania’s communication agency launched a new system called the Central Equipment Identification Register, which is a database of all International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers. When paired with systems at the network providers, it is able to block all counterfeit phones. Counterfeit mobile phones have now been switched off using the IMEI number. Apparently, Kenya did something similar in 2012, while Nigeria initiated similar moves in 2014.
- Singapore records First IP-financed loan: These are exciting times for the IP community in Singapore as the first case of loan application using intellectual property (IP) as collateral was approved few weeks ago. The beneficiary is Masai Group International. This comes further to the IP Financing Scheme (IPFS), which was introduced by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) to help IP-rich companies monetise their IP for business growth and expansion. The IP-financed loan was supported by DBS Bank (DBS), one of the scheme’s three participating financial institutions (PFI). More on that here.
- New Developments in Singapore’s IP Financing Scheme: Following the development above,with effect from July 1, 2016, IPOS has announced that IP owners can look forward to monetising other IP asset classes such as registered trade marks and copyrights through IPFS. The Scheme will also be extended for another two years till March 31, 2018, as applications are expected to increase. To meet the anticipated surge in demand for IP loan financing, IPOS has appointed a fourth PFI and expanded the panel of IP Valuers from three to seven. More on that here.
EU Trade Secrets Directive to come into force on July 5, 2016: Having followed the passage of the EU Trade Secrets Directive in previous posts, we are pleased to inform you that pursuant to Article 20, which states that the Directive shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, the Official Journal Vol 59 containing the Directive was published June 15, 2016. Accordingly, the Directive will come into force on July 5, 2016. Member States have a maximum of two years to incorporate the Directive’s provisions into domestic law.
- Israel publishes Patent Report 2015: The Israel Patent Office has recently published its report of 2015. As always, IP Factor has provided an overview of its content here.
Edison Visiting Scholar Program – Call for Proposals: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seeks new proposals from scholars in intellectual property, innovation, economics and related fields for the Thomas Alva Edison Visiting Scholars Program as Research Fellows. The Edison Visiting Scholars Program enlists the services of academic researchers to study intellectual property issues that further the agency’s mission and the public interest. For full consideration for the 2016-17 academic year, proposals should be received by July 11, 2016. All enquiries should be directed to email@example.com. More details here and here.
- UPOV Convention enters into force in Kenya: On May 11 2016, the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention) of December 2, 1961, as revised on March 19, 1991 entered into force in Kenya. Kenya, which is already one of the 74 members of UPOV, is the 56th member to become bound by the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention.The purpose of UPOV is to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society.More on that here and here.
- India’s Patent (Amendment) Rules, 2016 takes effect: The Patent (Amendment) rules, 2016 making amendments to the Patents Rules, 2003 (Principal Rules) of the Patents Act, 1970 have taken effect from May 16, 2016. More on that here and here.
- CJEU Launches Mobile App: The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) launched its application, CVRIA, for smartphones and tablets, which runs under both IOS and Android on May 11, 2016. The application is available in 23 EU languages which can be selected in the menu by the user.
It provides easy access to the latest decisions of the Court of Justice, the General Court and the Civil Service Tribunal (including judgments, Opinions and orders), as well as the latest press releases. Also included is the Court’s diary, providing details of hearings, judgments and Opinions for the coming weeks.For those who need to delve deeper, a search facility provides simple access to the whole of the Court’s case law. Searches can be carried out by case number, party name, date and a free text search.
- Obama signs Defend Trade Secrets Act:You would recall that the Defend Trade Secrets Act was passed by the Senate and House of Representatives some week ago. Well, President Obama has now signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 into law, creating a new Federal cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. More on that here. Here are 5 things you should know about the Act.
- Indian Cabinet approves National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy: The Cabinet has approved the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy with a view to promoting creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The aim is to create awareness about economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society. The Policy lays down seven Objectives which are elaborated with steps to be undertaken by the identified nodal Ministry/ department. These objectives include include IPR public awareness, stimulation of generation of IPRs, need for strong and effective laws and strengthening enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms to combat infringements. Films, music, industrial drawings will now be covered by copyright and by 2017, the window for trademark registration will be brought down to one month. More on the Policy here and here. Here are 10 things you should know about the Policy.
- Australian Productivity Commission releases Draft IP Report: The Productivity Commission released its draft report containing recommended changes to Australia’s IP regime on April 29, 2016. This follows from the request by the Federal Government for the Productivity Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of Australia’s IP system. A summary can be found here.
The public is invited to examine the draft report and to make written submissions by Friday 3 June 2016.The final report is expected to be handed to the Australian Government in August 2016 and published by the Commission a short time later.
- Digital Single Market Communications Leaked: In May 2015, the EU Commission launched the Digital Single Market Strategy. The objectives include:
- Rapidly concluding negotiations on common EU data protection rules.
- Giving more ambition to the ongoing reform of telecoms rules.
- Modifying copyright rules to reflect new technologies, and to make them simpler and clearer.
- Simplifying consumer rules for online purchases.
- Making it easier for innovators to start their own company.
- Boosting digital skills and learning.
- Enjoying the same online content and services regardless of the EU country we are in.
Following series of public consultations, Politico has leaked the draft Communication – Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market Opportunities and Challenges for Europe ahead of the anticipated release by the Commission at the end of May, 2016. The Kats have provided an overview of its content here.
- Defend Trade Secrets Act Passed: Following the unanimous passage of S.1890, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) by the US Senate earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the Act in a 410-2 vote on April 27, 2016. The Act will be presented to President Obama for his signature. For more reading on the DTSA, see here and here. You would recall that the EU Trade Secrets Directive was passed 2 weeks ago. A consolidated version of the agreed text of the Directive has been published in the Council Register and can be found here.
- IPReg appoints new Chair: Caroline Corby has been appointed as Chair of the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg), the regulatory body of patent attorneys and trade mark attorneys. More on that here.
- In related news, Justice Arnold has been appointed to the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office as a replacement for Lord Justice Floyd, who has been the UK external member of the Enlarged Board for some years.