The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that has been developing behind closed doors for the past several years. Bits and pieces of the text have leaked over time, but recently the entire draft chapter on Intellectual Property protection has been released by WikiLeaks. The TPP marks the largest economic treaty to-date, which encompasses nations including the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.
The text itself covers a wide range of topics including patents, trademarks, copyright and industrial design, as well as definitions and relationships to other international agreements. The aim of which is to address global concerns over piracy and counterfeiting.
In particular, the TPP seeks to expand upon patentable subject matter to include plants and animals, as well as medical procedures. With regard to copyright, the TPP seeks to extend copyright terms to all partner countries. The TPP also proposes technical protection measures to separately cover data that is not necessarily protected by copyright.
The largest section of the chapter is directed to enforcement provisions, which details new policing measures. Particular measures include supranational litigation tribunals, and expansion of damages to include “[l]ost profits, value of the infringed goods or services measured by the market price, or the suggested retail price.” By way of reference, Article 36 of TRIPS limits damages for certain infringement to “a sum equivalent to a reasonable royalty such as would be payable under a freely negotiated licence in respect of such a layout-design.”
Accordingly, the reactions have been swift and strong from civil liberty and advocacy groups. Where trade negotiators are looking for ways to improve IP standards and protection, advocates fear it may carve away at civil liberties and open access.
Public Citizen has issued an early review of the new TPP Text at http://www.citizen.org/documents/Whats%20New%20in%20the%20WikiLeaks%20TPP%20Text-11.pdf
Knowledge Ecology International has also issued a preliminary analysis of the TPP IP text, available at http://keionline.org/node/1825
For the full text of the draft TPP IP chapter, visit https://wikileaks.org/tpp/.