The European Commission analysis of ACTA's Internet chapter has leaked, indicating that the U.S. is seeking to push laws that extend beyond the WIPO Internet treaties and beyond current European Union law (the EC posted the existence of the document last week but refused to make it publicly available). The document contains detailed comments on the U.S. proposal, confirming the U.S. desire to promote a three-strikes and you're out policy, a Global DMCA, harmonized contributory copyright infringement rules, and the establishment of an international notice-and-takedown policy.
Whoa there, Nelly! I'm not sure why more Europeans/Canadians/Chinese aren't staging anti-ACTA rallies by torchlight and with pitchforks firmly grasped in hand but could it be that most unsuspecting Internet users have no idea what's in store for them should this onerous bill become law? Get the rest of the simple facts of this sad situation in Geist's EU ACTA Analysis Leaks: Confirms Plans For Global DMCA, Encourage 3 Strikes Model.
PatentBaristas.com: In other Canadian IP news, a trio of relevant patent laws are highlighted by none other than subject expert Stephen Albainy-Jenei in his recent blog post, Three Canadian Patent Decisions You Need To Know. In it, he writes:
In Canada, linkage regulations similar to the Hatch-Waxman Act in the U.S. ensure that generics manufacturers have to address relevant patents listed on the Patent Register (the analog to the Orange Book) if they want to market their product prior to the expiry of listed patents. Generics manufacturers can do so either by accepting the terms of the patents, or by filing a Notice of Allegation (NOA) alleging, amongst other things, that they will not infringe the patent or that the patent is invalid.
Three recent decisions litigated in this context contain important notes for pharma companies, biotech companies, generics companies and their patent attorneys and agents.
For additional clues as to the identities of the three aforementioned "recent decisions," if that's what they're calling them these days up in Canadia, bravely click on the link above and take pride in your good fortune.
Automobile.com: Ford Motor Co. and Chinese automaker Geely have struck a favorable deal on one of the stickiest parts of their negotiations for the foreign company to purchase Volvo. Andrew Peterson reports, "Good news for Chinese automaker Geely: It may have cleared one of the largest hurdles in purchasing Swedish automaker Volvo from the Ford Motor Company. According to a Europe-based Geely spokesman, the two firms have come to an agreement regarding Volvo’s intellectual property rights." In an effort to calm Ford's fears of the future theft of common Volvo/Ford intellectual property, a Geely rep stated that "if the sale goes through, Geely will take control of all technologies developed exclusively for Volvo. Volvo will also continue to access any Ford technology critical to the brand’s future development (we wouldn’t be surprised to see Ford’s inflatable seat belts in future Volvos), but Geely won’t be allowed to implement the same technology in its own product lines." We'll see what the future holds for this tricky, and potentially short-sighted, agreement if indeed Geely gets the trophy. Peterson's Ford and Geely Reach Agreement on Volvo’s Intellectual Property Rights should provide enough additional information to allay the gentle reader's apprehensions.
Bloomberg.com: A major international pharmaceutical company is hoping to beat knock-off/generic drug producers at their own game overseas with a recent bid to start selling off-patent drugs themselves. Kanoko Matsuyama reports on this clever move from Tokyo:
Pfizer Inc., maker of the world’s best-selling drug Lipitor, will enter the generic-drug market in Japan as early as 2011 to bolster sales of its medicines that have lost patent protection.
The drugmaker will also expand the sales force in Japan to sell more brand-name products, Ichiro Umeda, appointed president of Pfizer Japan Inc. today, said at a briefing in Tokyo. Pfizer, which acquired Wyeth for $68 billion in October, won’t cut any jobs in Japan after the takeover to cope with sales of its wider product range in the country, Umeda said.
This could be a direct reaction to the on-going fight Pfizer is in with Unilab to prevent illegal versions of its drugs from being produced and sold at generic prices. If Pfizer can find a way to not only monopolize its sales of Lipitor and also sell cheaper, generic versions of the drug in markets that can't stand the high prices of on-patent meds, it could soon have plenty of company in the "best-of-both-worlds" drug business. Read Matsuyama's Pfizer Will Start Generic-Drug Business in Japan (Update1) for the rest of the story.
The TTABlog®: A recent bid to register a trademark that would not pass the "idiot in a hurry test" has again been knocked down and begs the questions: "Really? You think you could trademark a name for use in beer-related ways when the name is already registered for that purpose by another entity? How many beers did you consume before resubmitting your application after the first refusal?" John L. Welch shares his thoughts on the matter: "Applicant feebly contended that its mark AUGUSTINER 'does not resemble the mark' AUGUSTINER in the cited registration, but 'not surprisingly' Applicant offered no explanation. "Indeed this would be a difficult task as the marks are essentially identical other than the almost indistinguishable block style font in applicant's mark." Moreover, because the cited mark is in "typed form," the Board must consider 'all reasonable displays for purpose of comparison, including applicant's block style lettering.' In short, the Board found the marks to be 'essentially identical.'" If just changing the font of a trademarked word to be used in the same market as the original trademark was enough to get a registration, it would have already been done, nu? Grab a cold German beverage of choice and settle in to read Welch's WYHA? TTAB Affirms 2(d) Refusal of "AUGUSTINER" for Beer in View of Identical Mark for Same Goods.
Bonus IP piece o' the day: Controlling The Costs Of Intellectual Property Litigation by Sanford E. Warren Jr. at The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel.