The United States is losing momentum with its much maligned and secretive Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The most recent blow to ACTA’s potential as a real live international policy was dealt by the European Parliament who voted overwhelmingly for openness and transparency before they will even considering the contents of the legislation. As ever, Nate Anderson has his finger on the pulse of national and global IP events and covers the developing ACTA story in his topical piece, Europe trashes ACTA as Obama praises it.

Earlier this week, we noted that the major parties in the European Parliament had all agreed on a resolution trashing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the secret process that has been hashing it out. That resolution has passed Parliament by a huge margin—633 yes votes, 13 no votes, and 16 abstentions.

Anderson then explicates the demands of the EP for the gentle reader:

The resolution demanded complete access to the ACTA negotiating texts, and it threatens a lawsuit if the European Commission fails to turn them over. Parliament was particularly miffed that the process has taken place in such secrecy, when major international IP treaties have in fact been negotiated much more openly at venues like WIPO and the WTO.

Fascinating, Captain. The EP is prepared to sue the EC if they don’t fess up the ACTA documents but isn’t that a little like the US House of Representatives suing the Senate? Or maybe it’s simply that the French want their own secretive policy that will be named “FACTA” and have convinced their fellow legislators to strike a blow for liberty and freedom against US IP enforcement hegemony? In any case, three cheers for having a backbone, members of the EP, and good luck with the lawsuit, should it go that far. And it looks like the EC is in league with the EP, any who. The EU Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht, reassured concerned parties with this statement: “Let me be very clear on this, so there is no room for ambiguity… The EU does not support and will not accept that ACTA creates an obligation to disconnect people from the internet because of illegal downloads.” Uganda is realizing that a deal with the European Union that gave 5 millions Euros to the country’s trade ministry comes with an unexpectedly steep price. From Kampala, more information of why the exchange of Euros for increased Ugandan copyright protections might mean the illness or deaths of a large number of its citizens.

The European Union (EU) is funding the drafting of Ugandas controversial Counterfeit Goods Bill, a proposed law that has caused an outcry as it threatens access to life-saving generic medicines in this low income East African country. Some 90 percent of medicines used in Ugandas health-care system are imported, of which about 93 percent are generics.

IPS received information that part of the five million euros that Ugandas ministry on tourism, trade and industry received from the EU in a financing agreement signed in July 2009 was to finance the drafting of this contentious bill that has consistently been criticised as a threat to treatment.

Some opponents of the legislation voice their concerns that the overly-broad definition of what is considered to be counterfeit, or fake, products will include life-saving drugs that are much needed in Uganda.

…[A]ctivists have been puzzled by the Ugandan governments willingness to adopt a law that defines counterfeiting so broadly as to criminalise the production and importation of generic medicines, thereby placing affordable and legitimate medicines outside the reach of millions of people in a country struggling with HIV and AIDS and malaria.

Influence for money is not a new game but maybe Uganda doesn’t have the tools it needs to successfully negotiate a favorable position, especially in light of the value 5 million Euros has to a cash-strapped and stunningly-poor nation. Read the rest of the details of why the European Euros for IP enforcement deal is not in the best interests of Ugandan citizens in EU Supports Law Threatening Access to Medicines. Big pharma will soon have a new tool to help them protect their valuable intellectual property. New York City-based CT, a Wolters Kluwer business, released news on their CT Coresearch software program recently and say their product will help eliminate wasted time and effort spent trying to negotiate both FDA and USPTO bureaucracies. From CT Corsearch Announces Trademark Search Capabilities for the U.S. Pharmaceutical Market:

The new CT Corsearch pharmaceutical trademark search combines key components in the clearance process that cover both standard trademark clearance and name safety components. The result is a big step forward in pharmaceutical clearance that incorporates the FDA’s Phonetic Orthographic Computer Analysis (POCA) and summarizes unwieldy name safety data like Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS), Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) into an easy-to-review summary format and overall, synthesizes name safety into the clearance process.

“Branding is a complex and potentially game-changing task for the pharmaceutical industry, where a particular name can generate millions and even billions of dollars in annual sales,” said Stephen Anderson, manager of content development for CT Corsearch.  “Our new pharmaceutical trademark search addresses the two-pronged search capabilities required to help these companies be successful in clearing compelling brand names and identities quickly and effectively, so that they can focus on the task of bringing their products to market.”

Increased focus is always good when it comes to pharmaceutical products and if CT’s trademark search engine can help drug companies leverage their areas of expertise while leaving the nitty-gritty of securing IP rights to subject-area experts, everyone wins. That’s what it’s all about, after all. Winning.

The Seattle Times: Staff columnist Brier Dudley takes a look at the front of the house dealings among the major players in the smartphone business with his timely article entitled Seeing is believing when Microsoft talks nice about former foe Apple. Dudley writes on Microsoft’s lead counsel, Brad Smith and his bizarre public display of affection for market rival Apple:

Smith welcomed Apple’s lawsuit as the opening salvo in a bigger effort to sort out who owns the technology used in smartphones and start collecting a standard set of royalties. License holders have been talking about this behind the scenes for some time, and Apple brought it out in the open, he said.

Dudley then asked Smith to comment on the possibility of Microsoft’s future involvement in Apple’s on-going lawsuit against smartphone manufacturer HTC.

Smith said Microsoft has “always worked closely” with Apple lawyers and knows them well, especially since former Intel lawyer Bruce Sewell became Apple’s general counsel.

“We have a lot of close ties and good relationships,” Smith said. “It doesn’t mean we always agree on everything. But it means we have the ability to talk and understand what we’re each trying to accomplish.”

War makes for strange bedfellows and imagining Microsoft and Apple sharing a twin-sized mattress is just about as strange as it gets.

Intellectual Property Watch: The title Brazil Starts Public Consult On Retaliation Against US IP Rights foreshadows the coming discord between growing trade nation Brazil and intellectual property enforcement giant, the United States of America. Here’s the skinny:

The Brazilian government today announced the start of a process of public consultation on suspension of concessions or obligations of intellectual property rights from the United States. The government on 15 March published a resolution of the Chamber of External Trade (CAMEX) launching the consultation, according to a Brazilian government press release.

This follows a WTO dispute settlement ruling in a US-Brazil dispute on cotton subsidies where the US was found in non-compliance with international trade rules. The decision gave Brazil the authorisation to suspend its obligations on US goods including IP rights. On 8 March, the Brazilian government published a list of US goods that will be subject to higher import taxes when entering Brazil (IPW, IP Burble, 8 March 2010).

Turn around *is* fair play, it seems. Read the rest of the news via the above linked story and prepare yourself for a trans-equatorial battle royale.

Bonus IP piece o’ the day: Infosys looks at IP for boosting revenue by K. Raghu at