Global News
(China IP)
Updated: 2012-06-13

1. Ukraine

Ukraine launches WTO dispute with Australia over tobacco packaging law

On March 15th, Ukraine initiated a formal trade dispute with Australia through the WTO’s Dispute Settlement System. Ukraine alleges that Australia’s Plain Packaging Act, which provides that “no trademark may appear anywhere on a tobacco product” violates TRIPs (and other trade agreement) rules on trademarks.

2. EU

EPO and Google remove language barriers from patent documentation

In a major step to improve access to patent documents in multiple languages, the EPO launched a new machine translation service, called Patent Translate, on the EPO’s website on February 29th. The service uses Google’s Translate technology and enables translation from and to English for French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish, covering approximately 90% of all patents issued in Europe. By the end of 2014, the service will also be able to translate patents from and into all 28 languages of the EPO member states, as well as Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.


WIPO Green

Holding that environmental technologies can significantly contribute to worldwide efforts towards achieving a low-carbon economy, WIPO launched a program named WIPO Green, which facilitates the accelerated adaptation, adoption and deployment of these technologies, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies.

4. Ireland

“Irish SOPA” signed into law

The Irish government has passed into law the controversial copyright legislation despite the robust opposition. Called by the critics the “Irish SOPA” after the US Stop Online Piracy Act, it has drawn wide attention ever since it came out. An online petition opposing the legislation has recorded more than 80,000 signatures since the end of January. Google and Facebook, which are among the biggest employers in Dublin, believe the changes could curb the growth of online business in the Republic. However, the Irish Recorded Music Association has backed the amended copyright law, claiming it would protect Irish musicians and recording artists.

5. Kazakh

Kazakh parliament ratified Singapore Trademark Law Treaty

The Kazakh Senate adopted the Law “On Ratification of the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks” at its plenary session.

Kazakh Justice Minister Berik Imashev highlighted the treaty as purposed to create more favorable conditions for trademark applicants and holders in any country and regional organizations. The objective of the Singapore Treaty is to create a modern and dynamic international framework for the harmonization of administrative trademark registration procedures.

6. Belgium

Library volunteers asked to pay royalties

The Belgian Copyright Collecting Society SABAM is demanding that public libraries should pay royalties when their volunteers read to group of ten or so small children. SABAM is demanding 250 euros per year from each cash-strapped library.

7. US

High court throws out human gene patents

On March 26th, the Supreme Court threw out a ruling allowing human genes to be patented, thus overturn patents belonging to Myriad Genetics of Salt Lake City on two genes linked to increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It put an end to the battle between the scientists who believe that genes carrying the secrets of life should not be exploited for commercial gain and companies that argue that a patent is a reward for years of expensive research that moves science forward.

8. Australia

Australian inventor won lawsuit against software giant Microsoft

After long and tedious legal battle, Australian inventor Ric Richardson won against software giant Microsoft and could take away hundreds of millions of dollars. Ric Richardson and Microsoft is reported to have reached an amicable decision after an eight-year long legal battle over. In September 2003, Ric Richardson filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for patent infringement after the company used Richardson's patented anti-piracy technology without the inventor's knowledge and permission.

Early in March, a trial has been going on before a federal jury in Providence, Rhode Island, to determine how much Microsoft should now pay for infringing the patent. However, the trial was withdrawn by both parties as they had reached a “final and mutually agreeable resolution” with Microsoft to end the dispute.

9. India

Affordable access to lifesaving drugs remains an issue

The India’s Supreme Court is hearing a case that could have life-or-death implications for millions of people with critical illnesses such as AIDS and cancer, not just in this country but across the developing world.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis wants to patent a formulation of a leukemia drug “imatinib mesylate” and was denied on the ground that it was not a new medicine but a salt formulation of a known drug. Novartis lost twice on appeal. According to the judges, the drug would have greater “efficacy” than the already-patented molecule, as required by the patent law. Novartis considers the efficacy clause as discriminatory.

The J-Innovation

Steve Jobs died the month that the latest Nobel Prize winners were announced. The coincidence lends itself to speculation about inevitability.

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