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treaty enforcement by Sarah Deer (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/4AfLUo

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 25: The Treaties Within the Treaty

This week’s signing of the TPP in New Zealand provides a useful reminder that a potential ratification means committing to far more than just one (very large) trade agreement. One of the Troubles with the TPP is that the intellectual property chapter requires all countries to ratify or accede to as many as nine international IP treaties. In other words, the treaties within the treaty are a core part of the obligations that come with TPP.

Article 18.7 specifies that all countries have already ratified or acceded to three IP treaties: the Patent Cooperation Treaty, Paris Convention, and Berne Convention. More notably, there are as many as six additional treaties that must be ratified or acceded in order to ratify the TPP:

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February 5, 2016 0 comments News
Toronto by Adrian Berg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/zcSxdx

Toronto City Council Sides With CRTC in Rejecting Mayor Tory’s Support of Bell Appeal

Last month, I wrote about the battle over the future of broadband in Canada with Toronto Mayor John Tory and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson writing to the federal cabinet to support a Bell appeal to overturn a CRTC decision designed to foster increased competition for fast fibre Internet services. On the CRTC ruling, I noted that:

The upshot of the ruling was that companies such as Bell would be required to share their infrastructure with other carriers on a wholesale basis. The companies would enjoy a profit on those wholesale connections, but the increased competition would facilitate better services, pricing, and consumer choice. Indeed, the policy approach is similar to the one used for slower DSL broadband connections that has been instrumental in creating a small but active independent ISP community that serves hundreds of thousands of Canadians.

Bell marshalled opposition to the CRTC decision, including letters from Tory and Watson. By contrast, the City of Calgary and its mayor, Naheed Nenshi, filed a lengthy submission supporting the CRTC approach.

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February 5, 2016 4 comments News
07290126 by SumofUs (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/vKwD5e

The TPP, IP and Canada: My Bloomberg TV Interview

I appeared yesterday on Bloomberg Television to discuss the impact of the TPP on Canadian intellectual property law. The discussion focused on the need for consultation and to take a closer look at the provisions in the agreement.

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February 5, 2016 3 comments News
Freeland Signs TPP

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 24: Missing Balance on IP Border Measures

The day after Canada signed the TPP (and a Leger poll found huge opposition to the agreement’s IP and ISDS provisions), the shift toward consultation and study can continue in earnest. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, used the signing to emphasize once again that signing is not the same as ratifying and that the government is committed to a robust Parliamentary and public review of the agreement.

The Trouble with the TPP series continues today with another example of the lack of balance in the text. An earlier post noted how in the TPP  rights holders’ provision are often mandatory, while those for users are treated as optional. The lopsided approach is also evident in the border measures rules. This week I discussed the expansion of border measures provisions without court oversight, which could lead to customs officials being asked to make difficult legal assessments on whether to detain goods entering the country.

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February 4, 2016 0 comments News
Reunión-almuerzo con Líderes de APEC que forman parte del TPP by Gobierno de Chile (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/Bc8mWf

The Trouble With the TPP, Day 23: On Signing Day, What Comes Next?

Later today, the 12 countries that make up the Trans Pacific Partnership, a massive global trade deal that includes Canada, the United States, and Japan, will gather in New Zealand to formally sign the agreement (the official signing day is February 4th, but with time zone differences, the signing ceremony starts at 5:30 pm ET on the 3rd). Signing the TPP is a major step forward for the controversial treaty, but questions still abound over whether it will be ratified and take effect. The Trouble with the TPP series, which I initially planned to wrap up today having examined issues ranging from copyright term extension to the weak cultural exception, takes a one-day break from substantive concerns to focus on the future. However, given that there are still some important issues to be considered, the series will continue well into this month.

While the Liberal government has been cautious about expressing its support – International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has been consistent in calling for consultation not conclusions – the decision to sign the TPP was never much in doubt. The agreement contains incentives to be an “original signatory”, since only those countries qualify for the rules related to entry into force of the agreement. To stay on the sidelines at this early stage might have kept Canada out of the TPP for good.

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February 3, 2016 7 comments Columns