[hub] TTIP: Commission intends to place secret, corporate "Christmas list" of IPRs in trade treaty

Erik Josefsson erik.hjalmar.josefsson at gmail.com
Thu Dec 19 07:35:31 CET 2013


Forwarding a first-hand report from a meeting on 5 December with a scan
of the program and a short clip. //Erik

 

 

*From:*PETTERSSON Ulf
*Sent:* 18 December 2013 16:42
*To:* Verts/ALE - Groupe Politique, Mep et Assistants
*Subject:* TTIP: Commission intends to place secret, corporate
"Christmas list" of IPRs in trade treaty

 

Dear all,

 

Below is a first-hand report from a Commission -- lobbyist meeting on
intellectual property in the TTIP some week or so ago, it

·         provides previously unknown information on what the TTIP will
contain on IP

·         sheds light on the extent to which the Commission is working
directly for industry

·         quotes the Commission and OHIM officials as they are advising
on how to work against civil society and why it is good that the public
is kept in the dark on negotiations

·         indicates that the Commission is negotiating on IP enforcement
which may be in breach of the Council negotiation mandate

 

For any questions, contact me.

 

Best,

 

*Ulf Pettersson*

*POLICY ADVISOR *

*MS. AMELIA ANDERSDOTTER, MEP*

European Parliament

ASP 06 E 266

Rue Wiertz 60 - 1047 Brussels

Tel +32 (0)2 28 30081

Mobile +32 (0)487 85 48 77

 

---

 

 

*Commission on intellectual property in TTIP: *

*"Lots of people are waiting for the first slip, the first leak" *

*-- Advises US corporations on how to make the European public accept
unwanted results*

* *

*Top Commission negotiator Pedro Velasco Martins says he is "happy" that
the public is being kept in the dark about a secret corporate "Christmas
list" of new intellectual property rules in new EU-US trade treaty:
"lots of people are waiting for the first slip, the first leak" about
what the TTIP will actually contain.*

 

 

*Business lobbyists and European Commission meet on how to maximize
pro-industry rules in TTIP  *

In a non-official meeting on the 5:th of December the Commission head
negotiator for Intellectual Property in TTIP, Pedro Velasco Martins, met
with representatives from major corporations discussing proposed new
rules on intellectual property in the upcoming economic treaty between
the EU and the US.

 

Taking place at the American Chamber of Commerce offices in Brussels,
the purpose of the two hour exchange was to strategize between
businesses and the Commission in order to make sure that the maximum
level of new IP restrictions will be written into the treaty. Present at
the meeting were representatives from a range of the very largest
multinational corporations. Among these were TimeWarner, Microsoft,
Ford, Eli Lilly, AbbVie (pharmaceutical, formerly Abbott) and the luxury
conglomerate LMVH. The participant list also included representatives
from Nike, Dow, Pfizer, GE, BSA and Disney - among others. Also present
was Patrice Pellegrino from OHIM, the EU/Commission agency responsible
for trade marks in the EU.

 

Controversially, the supposedly neutral Commission negotiator and the
OHIM representative not only defined themselves as allies with the
businesses lobbyists. They went far beyond this and started to instruct
the representatives in detail on how they should campaign to "educate"
the public in order to maximise their outcome in terms of industry
monopoly rights. In particular, concerns from elected representatives,
such as the European Parliament -- as well as civil society criticisms
about ever increasing intellectual property rights -- were to be kept
out of the public debate.

 

*Corporate "Christmas list" revealed*

Commission negotiator Velasco Martins revealed the existence of a secret
list of corporate demands for new intellectual property rights in the
transatlantic treaty. Previously - towards the public and the Parliament
- the Commission has created the impression that intellectual property
rights will be downplayed. The only IP right mentioned has been
geographical indications, a minor issue which few are concerned about.
In reality, the Commission now revealed that they have received "quite a
Christmas list of items" on IP from corporate lobbyists and that they
are working to implement this list. The list has already been discussed
with the US in several meetings, in person as well as online.

 

The Christmas list covers almost every major intellectual property
right. On patents, industry had shown "quite an interest" especially on
the procedures around the granting of new patents. On copyrights the
industry wants to have the "same level of protection" in the US and EU;
in reality this always means harmonization up which results in more
restrictions for the general public. On plant variety rights the pharma
sector has lobbied for "higher levels" of protection. On trademarks the
corporate lobbyists had made classification-related requests to the
Commission. Additionally there had been a lot of interest in trade secrets.

 

For the TTIP, intellectual property would be handled differently from
other trade negotiations -- there will be no "general statements",
instead it will focus on "concrete issues".

 

*IP enforcement - may be in breach of negotiation mandate*

According to the negotiator, the most repeated request on the Christmas
list was in "enforcement". Concerning this, companies had made requests
to "improve and formalize" as well as for the authorities to "make
statements". The Commission negotiator said that although joint
'enforcement statements' do not constitute "classical trade agreement
language" -- a euphemism for things that do not belong in trade
agreements -- the Commission still looks forward to "working in this area".

 

The fact that the Commission is working on IP enforcement in the TTIP
may constitute a breach of the negotiation mandate the Commission has
been given by the European Council. On enforcement, article 30 of the
mandate IP-chapter is clear: "The Agreement shall not contain provisions
on criminal sanctions".

 

*Commission IP negotiator: "lots of people are waiting for the first
slip, the first leak" *

A lobbyist from pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly said that since there
was a lot of "NGO activity" around the TTIP, especially on the topic of
ISDS, he was concerned. He asked that since intellectual property was
controversial, especially after ACTA, then what could industry do to
"counter this threat"?

 

Velasco Martins answered that the NGOs and the public criticism "is a
risk". Additionally, he continued: "I am happy that the focus has not
been on us" [the intellectual property negotiations and issues]. He
added that "the Commission is so happy to see the attention [by NGOs] on
ISDS". Everybody laughed. Velasco Martins went on to warn the industry
participants that "Lots of people are waiting for the first slip, the
first leak". With "slip" and "leak" he referred to what text that the
TTIP will contain on intellectual property.

.

*Consumers, NGOs and MEPs seen as the enemy: "they are using social
networks"*

The Commission and OHIM officials both made clear they were on the same
side as the largely American companies present. At the same time,
European consumers and civil society were described as either uneducated
or as an enemy that needs to be fought.

 

Velasco Martins described how he had attended a meeting on IP organized
by the NGO TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue. The meeting had not been
"pleasant to see". According to him the corporations he was addressing
"should worry" about consumer organisations like the TACD. However, he
thought that since some easily understandable stuff was not included in
the treaty, industry could have more of an easy time: if notice and
takedown issues were raised in the TTIP, the negotiations would see the
same kind of criticism as with ACTA. The negotiator was also happy that
data privacy was not included in the IP chapter.

 

Pellegrino of OHIM went on to say that the public maintains a kind of
"robin-hood attitude" to intellectual property rights. Previously,
industry had not been able to counter the preferences of the public and
the critique of civil society partly because the latter "were using
social networks".

 

*Pro-industry "studies" supposed to educate the public*

A recurring theme was that the public needs to be re-educated to
understand the value of industry monopoly rights.**

According to Pellegrino, the key to doing this is a number of pro-IP
reports that will or have been released by OHIM.

 

One recent report was highlighted. It claims that every fourth job in
the EU only exists because of intellectual property regulations. This is
based on a shockingly flawed methodology that throws economics as we
know it out the window: if one industry is using an IP right for
anything, then all jobs in that industry only exist because of the IP
right.

 

This report was hailed by everyone at the meeting. Speaker after speaker
re-iterated how important it was that the numbers from this report must
be repeated as often as possible.

 

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