Happy World Intellectual Property Day!
National Journal.com – Tech Daily Dose: Juliana Gruenwald highlights two recent and conflicting reports on the impact intellectual property has on American businesses and learns that varying parties have various views on the matter. In her related piece, Dueling Studies On World IP Day, Gruenwald writes:
Groups that say policymakers need to balance the rights of users when aiming to improve IP protection argue that some of the claims about the impact of IP piracy are overblown. They point to a study released this month from the Government Accountability Office that found that it is difficult to quantify potential losses from IP theft and counterfeiting. “Generally, the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating the economic impact of IP infringements extremely difficult, so assumptions must be used to offset the lack of data,” the study said.
At the same time, the Computer and Communications Industry Association plans to release its own study Tuesday that the group says will show that fair use of IP also produces economic benefits. The study found that “industries relying on fair use and other exceptions to copyright make up one-sixth of the U.S. economy and employ one of every eight workers,” according to a CCIA statement Monday.
Even as the nation celebrates World Intellectual Property Day there is no 100 percent agreement on the issue of intellectual property protection but most likely anyone who has a patent would be willing to voice their support of protecting it from “unfair” use, don’t you think? You can read the US Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center study here and the related press release here.
ArsTechnica.com – Law & Disorder: America is seen by most countries as having the best and most comprehensive set of laws protecting intellectual property but there is one country that Nate Anderson suggests trumps the U.S. in it’s copyright efforts when viewed through the perspective of local culture and consumer behavior. Anderson’s Best copyright policies in the world? Try India explains how Consumers International sees India’s method of copyright to be superior to most and worthy of consideration if not imitation:
“It is true that copyright infringement, particularly in the form of physical media, is widespread in India,” says the India country report. “However this must be taken in the context that India, although fast-growing, remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Although India’s knowledge and cultural productivity over the centuries and to the present day has been rich and prodigious, its citizens are economically disadvantaged as consumers of that same knowledge and culture.
“Indeed, most students, even in the so-called elite institutions, need to employ photocopying and other such means to be able to afford the requisite study materials. Physically challenged persons have no option but to disobey the law that does not grant them equal access to copyrighted works. Legitimate operating systems (with the notable exception of most free and open source OSes) add a very high overhead to the purchase of cheap computers, thus driving users to pirated software. Thus, these phenomena need to be addressed not at the level of enforcement, but at the level of supply of affordable works in a suitable format.”
A culturally-relevant way to market and sell American IP abroad might win more rupees and converts from pirated goods to reduced-cost ones available for use in developing nations and would at least show some sensitivity to the problem of a piece of word processing software costing more than a family makes in a year. Or?
Network World – Layer 8: Serendipitously, the FBI announced today that they will be adding “20 FBI Special Agents dedicated to fighting domestic and international IP crimes” and the US Department of Justice also revealed the creation of 15 new Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) slots to suss out intellectual property criminals. Michael Cooney’s topical piece, FBI, DoJ suit-up 35 new agents; lawyers for intellectual property battle, provides more information on this increased focus on intellectual property crimes. He writes:
The 15 new AUSA’s will work closely with the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section to aggressively pursue high tech crime, including computer crime and intellectual property offenses.
The 20 FBI Special Agents will be deployed to specifically boost four geographic areas with intellectual property squads, and increase investigative capacity in other locations around the country where intellectual property crimes are of particular concern, the FBI said.
These additions bring welcome strength to the newly-formed Task Force on Intellectual Property that the US DOJ created in the beginning of 2010. Cooney also notes some of the facts and figures from the General Accounting Office’s (GAO) report on IP-protected products, which makes for some pretty fascinating reading, from a facts and figures point-of-view.
PatentlyBIOtech: Mark your calendars, folks. A webinar this Friday, the 30th of April, will be delving into the ramifications of the recent Myriad patent case and a variety of subject-area experts, including Hans Sauer – Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property, BIO, will discuss the summary judgment in a “frank,” and one would hope, civil, way. Here’s the portion of the piece that explains the makeup of the webinar’s debaters:
Please join us for a webinar on Friday, April 30, at noon EST that will present both sides of this important debate. Professor John Conley of the University of North Carolina School of Law will moderate a frank discussion between Hans Sauer of BIO, which opposes the plaintiffs’ position, and Josh Sarnoff, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of the American Medical Association supporting the plaintiffs. We invite you to listen closely to disparate points of view – in hopes that as we listen, we can collectively move closer to common ground.
Checkout This Friday: Genetic Alliance Hosts Webinar on Myriad Gene Patent Case for the rest of the details, and RSVP for the event here.
Microsoft On The Issues: Do hot dogs and World Intellectual Property Day have anything in common? Maybe not directly, but Microsoft’s Richard Wilder, Associate General Counsel for IP Policy, uses one to introduce the other, and maybe that’s enough to get the conversation started. Wilder writes on the importance of this occasion in his timely blog post, Celebrating World Intellectual Property Day.
The choice has never been between IP and freedom or between IP and openness. While IP certainly isn’t a panacea, at least it enables relative openness and sharing by creating incentives for the disclosure and dissemination of technology. In doing so, it provides a legal framework within which companies and individuals can collaborate more efficiently and pursue their collective goals. IP also provides an international framework that reduces both the cost and the risk of technology transfer.
To paraphrase Churchill’s famous characterization of democracy, IP is perhaps the worst mechanism for driving open innovation and economic development except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.
Anyone who can work in a quote from Churchill and a hot dog reference in a piece celebrating WIPD deserves a round of applause, don’t you think? Oh, and here are the hot dog references:
Its appeal may not be quite as obvious as National Hot Dog Day on July 23, but the annual commemoration marked on April 26, World Intellectual Property Day, really is a good reason to celebrate.
So, do celebrate World Intellectual Property Day. Maybe even have a hot dog.
I suggest rounding off the party with some good-old fashioned fireworks and maybe even a slice of apple pie, just for the fun of it.
Bonus IP piece o’ the day: Pirates rewrite script for Apple’s China iPad launch by James Pomfret and Melanie Lee at Reuters.com.