Secret TPP intellectual property agreement misses deadline

The U.S. claimed "substantial progress" amid reports of disputes among countries

Negotiators on a secret trade treaty, which includes controversial intellectual property proposals, could not meet their year-end deadline for an agreement this week at Singapore.

The 12 countries will now meet next month, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

The intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, being negotiated by 12 countries, apparently has controversial proposals that would increase the term of patents and copyright, reduce requirements for patentability and increase damages for infringements of patents and copyrights.

Whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released last month a draft of the intellectual property rights chapter of the TPP. The talks have been conducted in secrecy by the governments and may be made public only after the agreement is signed, according to reports.

Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S., and Vietnam participated in the four-day ministerial meeting in Singapore where the countries made "substantial progress" toward completing the agreement, according to the USTR statement.

However, the discussions are likely to have got bogged down in controversy as a number of countries, including New Zealand, Chile, and Canada, oppose many of the proposals, including those relating to intellectual property, according to documents released Monday by WikiLeaks.

The countries were unlikely to reach an agreement in Singapore, according to comments by an unnamed country after talks last month in Salt Lake City, Utah, released by WikiLeaks.

"This involves being prepared for a partial closure scenario or even a failure in December....," according to the commentary by the country after the Salt Lake City talks, released Monday by WikiLeaks.

"The US is exerting great pressure to close as many issues as possible this week," it added. "This pressure will increase with every passing day......"

South Korea has recently expressed interest in joining the 12 countries negotiating the TPP.

The proposals of the TPP have been criticized by law makers and civil rights groups in the U.S. and other countries. 29 organizations and more than 70 individuals wrote a letter to TPP negotiators opposing proposed copyright protection of 70 years after the death of an author in the agreement, according to a copy of the letter released by one of the signatories Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), a group which is concerned about the contents of the leaked treaty draft.

The leaked TPP text will apparently export new copyright terms to signatory countries, rather than allowing the copyright term to be determined by each country, U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California said last week. Lofgren was also concerned about provisions on technical protection measures, such as digital rights management, to prevent copying or modifying copyrighted work.

Critics of the intellectual property proposals claim some of the provisions in TPP are similar to those found in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). Both bills did not pass in the U.S. after strong protests including from the tech industry.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationlegislationlegalwikileaksintellectual propertytrade

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?