World Intellectual Property Organization

News Roundup

August 2006

Barcelona Seminar Discusses Broadcasters' Rights

International experts, business leaders, academics and government delegates gathered on June 21, 2006, in Barcelona, under the auspices of WIPO, the Catalan Broadcasting Council and the Barcelona Bar Association, to examine current technical, economic and legal realities in the field of broadcasting, and to identify areas for development.

The seminar provided an opportunity for all interested participants to share their views on the possible impact of updating the rights of broadcasting organizations, which were established in the 1961 Rome Convention on the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations. The debate was structured in three parts: an analysis of the evolution of business models and technologies involved in broadcasting; an assessment of the position of broadcasters, both as users of IP in the content they transmit (films, music, literary works, etc) and as owners of their specific broadcaster rights; and finally a round table on the proposed WIPO Treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations, currently under discussion in Geneva. The round table brought together government delegates from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Portugal and an EU Commission representative, in a discussion moderated by the Chair of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, Mr Jukka Liedes, to look at the range of views expressed by Iberoamerican Governments and the European Union.

The event was webcast courtesy of ALFA- REDI, a Latin American NGO devoted to legal analysis of the Internet and the new technologies. Over 200 connections to the webcast were logged with an average duration of over 40 minutes, mostly from Latin America and the US.

The meeting benefited from the active support of broadcasting organizations and content owners, including the Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), Association of European Radios (AER), Association of Spanish Commercial Radio (AERC), International Association of Broadcasting (AIR), European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the Audiovisual Producers Rights Management Organization (EGEDA).

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America's Cup - WIPO Provides Electronic Case Facility for Dispute Resolution

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The electronic case facility contributes to the efficient resolution of disputes in the America’s Cup, where Jury members and parties can be based in different locations, and time is of the essence. (Photo ©Ivo.Rovira/Alinghi)

The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, together with the WIPO IT Division, has created a new customized version of the WIPO Electronic Case Facility (ECAF) to facilitate dispute resolution under the Jury Procedure of the 32nd America's Cup (ACJ ECAF). The ACJ ECAF will offer the same facility as the ECAF to submit case communications in a web-based file, triggering e-mail alerts to all parties, who may view and search the case file at any time from any location.

Under the America's Cup Jury Rules of Procedure, the Jury resolves disputes involving competitors and provides guidance in rule interpretation. The ACJ ECAF contributes to the efficient resolution of ACJ disputes, where Jury members and parties can be based in different locations, where each submission in every case must be communicated to a multitude of participants, and where time is of the essence in reaching conclusions.

ACJ disputes cover a variety of issues that arise in connection with this high-tech yachting competition. Examples so far include cases on the use of logos and advertising on boats, cases concerning the interpretation of racing rules, and cases relating to the place of yacht construction. The jury decisions are publicly available on the America's Cup website. 

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Top Selling Cholesterol Drug Comes Off Patent

The U.S. patent covering Merck’s block-buster anti-cholesterol drug, Zocor, expired in June. Global sales of Zocor, which sells for around $3 per daily pill in the U.S., generated $4.4 billion in 2005, making this the most profitable drug ever to be opened to competition from generic drugs manufacturers. The next three years will see a further US$50 billion worth of drugs going off patent.

Simvastatin, the active ingredient in Zocor, is a drug which slows the liver's ability to produce the type of "bad" cholesterol, which can build up in blood vessels and lead to heart attacks or strokes. Some analysts predict that competition from generic manufacturers may bring the price of simvastatin down to as little as 30 cents a pill within a year. This will also impact on Zocor’s even more successful rival, Lipitor, produced by Pfizer. Lipitor, which comes off patent in 5 years time, made US$12 billion in sales – more than any other drug ever invented.

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WIPO Addresses Indigenous Issues at UN Forum

WIPO hosted two events on the sidelines of the 5th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held in New York in May:

  • a workshop entitled "Can Intellectual Property Serve as a Practical Tool for Protecting Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions for the Advancement of Indigenous Women and Community Development in General?" and
  • a briefing session on recent developments at WIPO in relation to traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions.

The focus of the workshop was on the key role played by indigenous women in the creation and preservation of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. Positive feedback from participants confirmed the importance of mainstreaming gender in addressing IP issues in this field. The workshop highlighted WIPO’s capacity-building activities among indigenous groups, and demonstrated the wide interest among these groups in learning more about IP and its relationship with the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural expressions. Representatives of indigenous communities in Canada, Colombia and Kenya and of other intergovernmental organizations participated as panelists.

The briefing focused on the draft objectives and principles being discussed by the WIPO Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, the new Voluntary Fund and WIPO’s ongoing consultations and studies on IP and customary laws.

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