Post Tagged with: "ip council"

The IP Lobby’s Post-Bill C-11 Playbook: ACTA, SOPA, Warrantless Search and the Criminalization of IP

The Canadian intellectual property’s lead lobby group, the Canadian IP Council (itself a group within the Canadian Chamber of Commerce) released a new policy document yesterday that identifies its legislative priorities for the coming years. Anyone hoping that the SOPA protests, the European backlash against ACTA, and the imminent passage of Bill C-11 might moderate the lobby group demands will be sorely disappointed. Counterfeiting in the Canadian Market: How Do We Stop It? is the most extremist IP policy document ever released in Canada, calling for the implementation of ACTA, SOPA-style rules including website blocking and stopping search results from resolving, liability for advertisers and payment companies, massive surveillance at the border and through delivery channels including searching through individual packages without court oversight, and spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on private enforcement.

This long post reviews the report, focusing on the case it makes for addressing counterfeiting concerns in Canada and on the resulting recommendations. The recommendations are divided into five main groups:

  1. Introduce a Canadian SOPA
  2. ACTA Implementation
  3. New Search Powers Without Court Oversight
  4. The Criminalization of Intellectual Property
  5. Massive Increase in Public Spending Creating an IP Enforcement Subsidy

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June 8, 2012 59 comments News

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Justifies Fake Counterfeit Claims With More False Numbers

Earlier this week, I posted on how the Canadian IP Council, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s IP lobby arm, floated false claims about the scope of counterfeiting in Canada in an attempt to bolster claims for increased border measures. That was followed by a post yesterday on Professor Edward Iacobucci’s debunking of the Chamber’s report on Canadian patent law, which he found to be deeply flawed. In response to my first post, the IP Council’s Chris Gray tweeted responses that the Chamber does not want individual travellers searched and that its claim of $30 billion in losses from counterfeiting in Canada comes from a recent International Chamber of Commerce report.

The retraction on border searches of travellers is good news, though the Chamber should seek to publicly correct the Globe and Mail, which reported otherwise. Moreover, given that some of its members have publicly stated their opposition to the de minimis provision in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – GlaxoSmithKline has said the exclusion of traveller’s luggage “sends out an entirely inappropriate message” – its position on the issue may not be cast in stone.

Even more notable is the suggestion that the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is now basing its $30 billion counterfeiting claim on the 2011 International Chamber of Commerce report.

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June 10, 2011 70 comments News

Study Debunks Chamber of Commerce Claims on Canadian Patent Law

Yesterday I posted on how the Canadian IP Council, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s IP lobby arm, floated false claims about the scope of counterfeiting in Canada in an attempt to bolster claims for increased border measures. The Chamber placed Canadian countefeiting costs at $30 billion per year, a figure that has no basis in fact and that even RCMP no longer supports.

The Chamber’s false claims on counterfeiting are not the only intellectual property issue where their arguments have been debunked as inaccurate.  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on the proposed trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, which could have big implications for the costs of pharmaceutical drugs, on which Canadians spend $22 billion annually.

The E.U. is home to many of the world’s big brand name pharmaceutical companies and one of their chief goals is to extend Canada’s intellectual property rules to delay the availability of lower cost generic alternatives. Earlier this year, the Chamber’s IP Council released a report claiming that Canada lags behind other countries and encouraging the Canadian government to follow the European example by extending the term of pharmaceutical patents and “data exclusivity.”

The CIPC (which counts several brand name pharmaceutical companies as members) claims the reforms would lead to increased pharmaceutical research and development in Canada. But last month University of Toronto law professor Edward Iacobucci released a study that thoroughly debunks the CIPC claims, predicting increased consumer costs and noting that there is little evidence the changes would increase employment or research spending. 

Iacobucci’s blunt assessment of the report:

The CIPC Report does not offer objectivity in its assessment of Canada’s patent regime.  It rather is a straightforward piece of advocacy on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical sector. The Report makes no effort to place Canada’s patent law in an international context or address international relations, but instead simply asserts without justification that Canada would suffer if it fails to grant the same concessions to the pharmaceutical industry that the EU and US have made. The flaws in this basic approach undermine each of the CIPC Report’s recommendations. 

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June 9, 2011 4 comments Columns

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Floats Fake $30 Billion Counterfeiting Claim

This week the Canadian IP Council, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s IP lobby arm, issued a release placing Canadian counterfeiting costs at $30 billion per year. That figure is being used to lobby the government to enact new border measure provisions that could lead to the searching of luggage as travellers enter Canada. It is tempting to dismiss the claims on the basis that the policy rationale makes no sense – if counterfeit toothpaste is indeed “coming across the border in droves” as the Chamber claims, searching traveller luggage won’t address that issue. Moreover, it should be noted that even the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement features an exception for de minimis imports that an individual might carry as it recognizes that addressing counterfeiting concerns does not involve targeting individuals. Yet given the decision to resurrect the bogus $30 billion figure, it is important to again call attention to its origins and how it is simply a fabrication.

[Update: New post with the Chamber’s response and more fake figures]

Several years ago I examined the source of the $30 billion claim, which has been repeated on many occasions over the years. The review started with an Access to Information request with the RCMP for the source of the $30 billion claim, which was found in a 2005 report. The RCMP responded that the figure was based on “open source documents found on the Internet.” What were these documents? The RCMP provided two:

First, a March 2005 CTV news story reported unsubstantiated claims by the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, a global anti-counterfeiting lobby group made up predominantly of brand owners and law firms, that some of its members believe that 20 percent of the Canadian market is “pirate product.”  That 20 percent figure – raised without the support of any evidence whatsoever – appears to have been used by IACC to peg the cost of counterfeiting in Canada at $20 billion per year.

Second, a 2005 powerpoint presentation by Jayson Myers, then the Chief Economist for the Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters, included a single bullet point that “estimated direct losses in Canada between $20 billion and $30 billion annually.” The source for this claim?  According to Mr. Myers, it is simply 3 to 4 percent of the value of Canada’s two-way trade.

In recent years, the RCMP has backed away from the $30 billion claim. In its August 2010 report on IP crime, it declined to set a figure, acknowledging that the numbers “have been subject to debate in recent years.”

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June 8, 2011 21 comments News

World IP Day Event on Parliament Hill

World Intellectual Property Day is set for next Tuesday, April 21st and Senator Joseph Day is once again coordinating an event on Parliament Hill.  This year, however, MPs and Senators will be joined by members of both IPIC and the Chamber of Commerce's CIPC.  The Chamber's IP Council is an […]

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April 17, 2009 Comments are Disabled News