Posted in patents, tagged CERN, Gurry, ISOC, web, wipo on 09/10/2011 |
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Francois Gurry made headlines with his suggestions the world would be a better place if the web had been patented. Gurry chairs the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, a UN body which administers international IPR agreements and is responsible for relaying international patent applications. I am unsure the member states of WIPO would like to endorse his suggestion.
But let’s be fair to the UN diplomat. Boing-Boing links the video stream of the session. Gurry had been challenged by the panel views from Lynn St Amour (Internet Society) and Rolf Heuer (CERN). They claimed the web as an example of disruptive innovation, innovation from basic research that was not patented and not expected. Heuer added a provocative notion it was developed around the corner of Gurry’s Geneva UN institution WIPO. Boing Boing:
After the head of CERN and the CEO of the Internet Society spoke about how important it was that the Web’s underlying technology hadn’t been patented, Francis Gurry, the Director General of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), took the mic to object.
What panelist Gurry said may be a result of frustration and perception it was necessary to add more “balance”. The report presented, Globalinnovationindex is freely downloadable. The first foreword is by COE of Alcatel-Lucent. Title: The World Needs Open Innovation.
These days smart phone markets and html5 deliberations at W3C illustrate how difficult it gets in a patent carpet to innovate. Under the looming financial and debt crisis commercial risk reduction is gaining more and more attention.
Disclaimer: The author observed WIPO negotiations for a German NGO.
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What is often not understood, the planned ACTA is negotiated among a coalition of the willing. It is not primarily targeted at the nations which sit at the negotiations table but it aims at third nations, in particular emerging nations and BRIC. TRIPS included IPR ‘minimum standards’ under the premise of their misuse as a barrier to trade. The current ACTA negotiations leave that premise totally out of sight, negotiators are not aware of the difference or argue that is was just enforcement, not substantive provisions. The actual usefulness of ACTA lies in its applications beyond its original members.
Stanford McCoy (US): When talking about comprehensive free trade agreement, IP is a trading chip. When it is an IP focused agreement, can go to government and ask them if they will be strong on it… ACTA would sell itself if we have a package of appropriate measures.
Luc Devigne (EU): The value of ACTA is to bring the problem countries around to our side. We haven’t reached this step yet, because it is not final, but there are ideas on how to do it. ACTA is not new substantial law, only enforcement. Who can be against enforcement?
Moderator: Once ACTA completed, does that become part of FTA?
Stanford McCoy: That is already the case. It wouldn’t be a change. But ACTA also adds enforcement provisions, to give more tools.
At WIPO UN Charta principles apply.
The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
.. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, …
But ACTA is no international treaty negotiated at WIPO but a plurilateral “trade agreement” about legislation. With ACTA trade policy instruments are used to force a certain legal regime on the targeted nation. Essentially non-domestic laws are traded for bananas.
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Washington KEI kindly put an intervention online; it comes from the US delegation at the WIPO SCP session. An organisation I am affiliated with, the FFII, is represented by Dr Bakels at the meeting under its WIPO observer status. As of myself I thought that meeting would be unamusing, but instead I stumble upon the United States denial statement as a rather odd indication of the deep disruption and lost confidence in ISO among some WIPO members:
The United States remains a strong supporter of our policies that allow U.S. standards developers to participate in international standards development activities without jeopardizing their patents, copyrights and trademarks.
Today, more than 16,455 standards are approved as International Standards (with about 1800 more in the pipeline) and 11,500 of these as American National Standards. Thousands more are adopted by industry associations, consortia, and other Standard Setting Organizations on a global basis.
Yet the number of disputes that result in litigation per year is typically in single digits, and the vast majority of these cases involve specific fact patterns. In other words, there is NOT a crisis, as claimed by some, in standard setting.
Good to know that there is no crisis and sure the world economy is undergoing worse disruptions than standardization governance issues. Let me also quickly mention the US endorsement of a re-definition of open standards that may not be met with excitement in the technologists community:
“Open standards systems offer a balance of private and public interests that can protect IP with fairness, disclosure policies, and reasonable and non-discriminatory licensing.“
I would suggest it became irrelevant. What does concern me is that the US diplomat endorsed the statement of the German delegation. I hope their comment was no embarassement.
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