- 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.
- 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.
- EU Trade Secrets Directive approved: The European Parliament on April 14, 2016, voted in favor of the EU Trade Secrets Directive. The Directive introduces an EU-wide definition of “trade secret”, meaning information which is secret, has commercial value because it is secret, and has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it secret. The new EU rules are expected to help firms win legal redress against theft or misuse of their trade secrets. Following the approval of the Parliament, the Council should formally adopt the Directive at its next sitting on May 17, 2016.Catch up on the full press release on the compromise reached in December, 2015 here
- MOPPICON Bill Review Committee Inaugurated: Despite the brouhaha that has arisen in respect of the MOPPICON Bill, the Minister for Information (Lai Mohammed) on April 12, 2016, inaugurated a a 29-member committee to review the Bill. As reported here, the Committee is headed by Peace Anyiam Osigwe who is assisted by Mahmood Ali Balogun. Brian Etuk of the Nigerian Film Corporation is the Secretary to the Committee. The committee is expected to review and harmonize the MOPPICON draft bill and code of ethics document within three weeks, ahead of its submission to the Ministry of Justice and then the National Assembly. More details here and here.
- Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) Granted a Royal Charter: Hearty congratulations to ITMA, which was granted a Royal Charter by Her Majesty The Queen at a meeting of the Privy Council held on April 12, 2016. This means that ITMA will now become a Chartered Institute, that is, CITMA while Registered Trade Mark Attorneys of the Institute will now be Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys. The change will take place once the Charter receives the official Great Seal from the Crown Office later this year. More on that here.
- 2016 Winners of the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) International Excellence Award announced: The winners of the 2016 ABC International Excellence Award for Accessible Publishing were announced at the London Book Fair on April 12, 2016. Elsevier won in the publisher category, , whilst the Action on Disability Rights and Development (ADRAD), an NGO, and the DK Braille Concept Development Team (part of Penguin Random House) tied for first place in the project initiative category. More details here.
- Collective Rights Management (CRM) Directive Implemented into UK law: In November 2015, the government published draft Regulations to implement the CRM Directive for technical review. Following this process, the UK published the final Regulations on February 25, 2016, which came into force on April 10. The Directive creates a level playing field for multi-territorial licensing of online music services. It is also designed to help make sure royalty payments are timely and accurate while significantly improving the transparency and governance of European CMOs. More details here.
- Speaking of Collective Rights Management, the Music Copyright Society of Kenya has advertised a vacancy for the position of Chief Executive Officer. The deadline for submission of applications is April 27, 2016. More on that here.
KIPI Publishes Drafting Instructions for Public Comment: Following proposals made by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) and its stakeholders to repeal the Trade Marks Act, Cap 506 of the Laws of Kenya, KIPI has published soft copies of the Drafting Instructions and the proposals to repeal the Trade Marks Act:
Comments, additions and or amendments to the Drafting Instructions from the public are to be submitted to the Institute on or before April 30, 2016 via email: email@example.com.
- Indian Government releases Indian Intellectual Property Panorama: The Indian Government has launched a customized version of IP Panorama Multimedia toolkit, developed by WIPO, Korean Intellectual Property Office and Korea Invention Promotion Association. The toolkit has been adapted to cater to SMEs and start-ups, especially in the ICTE sector of India, based on an agreement signed between WIPO and DeitY. More details here. In the alternative, the Indian IP Panorama can be accessed here.
- GlaxoSmithKline to Restrict Patent Filings in Developing Countries: Patents have often been at the receiving end of the access to medicine debates. Accordingly, GSK has decided not to file patents in the world’s poorest countries (50 of them). It will file patents in lower middle income countries, but will grant licences to generic manufacturers in exchange for a “small royalty”. This will allow for generic versions of GSK medicine to be produced without delay and restrictions. In addition, GSK will put all its future cancer drugs into the Medicines Patent Pool. More on that here. While this is good news, the Lady is of the opinion that developing countries still need to invest in research and development given the abundant natural resources in some of these countries.
- One-day strike at the European Patent Office (EPO): On Thursday, April 7, 2016 workers of the EPO embarked on a one-day strike protesting management behaviour and demanding fair treatment of staff. More details here, here and here.
- Managing IP has published the final 2016 rankings of the top firms for copyright work in over 20 jurisdictions. More on that here and here for Nigerian firms.
- Looks like all hands are on deck to pass the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON) into law: It has been a long time coming if you ask the Lady. The Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, has announced that a Ministerial Committee aimed at fast-tracking the passage of the Bill is to be inaugurated on April 8, 2016. The 17-member Committee will be led by Ms Peace Anyiam-Osigwe and supported by Mr. Mahmoud Alli-Balogun as Deputy Coordinator. The Committee will review and harmonize the MOPPICON Bill ahead of its submission to the Ministry of Justice and then the National Assembly. More details here and here.
- Big changes in the EU Trademark Regime: On March 23, 2016, Regulation (EU) No 2015/2424 of the European Parliament and the Council amending the Community trade mark regulation entered into force. As a result, Community trade marks (CTMs) will now be known as European Union trade marks (EUTMs) and OHIM will also now be known as the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Other changes include:
- an overall reduction in the fees for EUTMs
- an end to processing applications for EU-wide trade marks via the UK’s IPO
- various changes to the law, including measures to help tackle counterfeiting
- Madrid Goods and Services Manager Upgraded: Additional functions and content have been included in the Madrid Goods and Services Manger to make it easier to use. Some of these changes include Explanatory Notes in all languages; Similar group codes; Search by Nice Classification indication basic number; Participating countries; and Updated support. The Madrid Goods and Services Manager is a multilingual online tool that helps users compile the complete list of goods and services needed to file international applications. It provides terms from the Alphabetical List of the Nice Classification as well as others that are pre-accepted by the WIPO and many IP Offices in the Madrid System. Using pre-accepted terms helps reduce delays and costs linked to irregularity notices and provisional refusals.