Archive for February, 2007

USPTO on the U.S. IP System

A reader points to comments from John Dudas, the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), doing his best IIPA impression on how the U.S. IP system is perceived worldwide: "I have traveled around the world, and every nation […]

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February 28, 2007 3 comments Must Reads

Counterfeit Claims

CRIA's Graham Henderson was back in the spotlight yesterday with a speech delivered on behalf of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network at the Economic Club of Toronto understatedly titled "Canada Awash in Piracy" An Action Plan to Secure Our Prosperity".  The speech, which has yet to be posted online (then again, CRIA has not posted a release or a speech since last September), followed the usual CRIA formula:

  • law firm sponsors to help fill the room (McCarthy Tetrault)
  • a questionable Pollara study (this one focused on Canadians' appetite for counterfeit goods)
  • cracks at law professors ("we don't have a [piracy party] here yet but there are rumours that some law professors are putting one together")
  • an astonishingly critical portrayal of Canada and Canadian policy makers (Canada has "a poorly developed marketplace framework for intellectual property rights", low Canadian attendance at a WIPO counterfeiting conference was "a grievous oversight and it sends a disturbing message", etc.)

There are several issues worth noting about the speech.  First, I don't know many people who are in favour of commercial counterfeiting.  If the allegations regarding organized crime involvement and health and safety issues (counterfeit pharmaceuticals, batteries, toys) are even partially true, Canada should have a legal system to address these concerns. Henderson suggested several reforms (trademark reform, customs powers) that would likely prove relatively uncontroversial in that regard.

The problem with this latest campaign is that it massively overstates the problem and seeks to conflate commercial counterfeiting with other activities that are not nearly as problematic.

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February 28, 2007 10 comments News

Oh, Bev Oda

Bev Oda gets the YouTube treatment along with media coverage of the video (hat tip: Digital Copyright Canada).

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February 28, 2007 2 comments Must Reads

IP in QP

Intellectual property was raised in the House of Commons yesterday, though both the question and the answer are a little difficult to understand: Mr. Robert Vincent (Shefford, BQ):      Mr. Speaker, copyright infringement costs between $20 billion and $30 billion annually in losses to our businesses. For example, Polyform in […]

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February 27, 2007 1 comment Must Reads

Net Neutrality at the Industry Committee

Yesterday I appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology as part of their examination of telecom deregulation.  I was pleasantly surprised to receive an invitation, which I took to be an opportunity to discuss net neutrality.  I hope I didn't disappoint – I've posted my opening remarks below.  I focused on three issues in my opening: net neutrality, broadband strategies, and anti-spam legislation.   I tried to emphasize the need for action now, particularly with Canada developing an international position on net neutrality at the OECD (which behind the scenes is developing a paper on Internet traffic prioritization). The remarks attracted some interest from the committee, particularly Bloc MP Paul Crête, who asked many questions on each issue.  It will be interesting to see whether these issues make into the committee's final report.  My prepared remarks were as follows:

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February 27, 2007 5 comments Committees, News