Tuesday, 29 March 2022

TRIPS Waiver Compromise on COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments Announcement Coming Soon?

The AIPLA and other IP organizations have issued a joint statement on a tentative TRIPS waiver compromise. On March 15, 2022, Adam Hodge, USTR spokesperson stated, in part:

Since last May, USTR has worked hard to facilitate an outcome on intellectual property that can achieve consensus across the 164 Members of the World Trade Organization to help end the pandemic. USTR joined informal discussions led by the WTO Secretariat with South Africa, India, and the European Union (EU) to try to break the deadlock.

The difficult and protracted process has resulted in a compromise outcome that offers the most promising path toward achieving a concrete and meaningful outcome. While no agreement on text has been reached and we are in the process of consulting on the outcome, the U.S. will continue to engage with WTO Members as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s comprehensive effort to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible.

I wonder how Russia's invasion of Ukraine impacted the consensus building.  The Joint Statement provides:


Written March 28, 2022

On March 24, AIPLA, along with the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), Licensing Executives Society International (LESI), Licensing Executives Society USA & Canada, and the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA) issued a joint statement on the tentative TRIPs Waiver Compromise.  Our organizations are concerned by reports that the European Union, India, South Africa, and the United States have reached a tentative compromise on a proposed TRIPS waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights. We strongly support equitable, widespread and successful distribution of vaccines necessary to meet the challenges of COVID-19. However, the proposal currently being reported incorrectly portrays IP as a barrier to production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines. Our organizations know of no evidence to support that IP is such a barrier. In fact, the World Health Organization has stated: “[w]ith global vaccine production now at nearly 1.5 billion doses per month, there is enough supply to achieve our targets, provided they are distributed equitably. This is not a supply problem; it’s an allocation problem.”1 Solving the allocation problem is best accomplished by focusing on improvements to supply chain and distribution issues, rather than by concentrating on the red herring of intellectual property as an alleged barrier. Intellectual property has been critical to the development of technology that has enabled a global COVID-19 response and it continues to fuel efforts to more effectively distribute vaccines and advance other needed technology. We should not undermine our ability to respond to this and future pandemics.

Footnote 1:  See https://www.who.int/campaigns/vaccine-equity (accessed on 18 March 2022).

Global Recorded Music Industry Doing Quite Well

The IFPI has released a report titled, “Global Music Report 2021.”  The Report reviews the revenues for the global recorded music industry.  The news is good with streaming paving the way for an increase in revenue even with COVID-19!  The press release states:

The global recorded music market grew by 7.4% in 2020, the sixth consecutive year of growth, according to IFPI, the organisation that represents the recorded music industry worldwide. Figures released today in IFPI’s Global Music Report show total revenues for 2020 were US$21.6 billion.

Growth was driven by streaming, especially by paid subscription streaming revenues, which increased by 18.5%. There were 443 million users of paid subscription accounts at the end of 2020. Total streaming (including both paid subscription and advertising-supported) grew 19.9% and reached $13.4 billion, or 62.1% of total global recorded music revenues. The growth in streaming revenues more than offset the decline in other formats’ revenues, including physical revenues which declined 4.7%; and revenues from performance rights which declined 10.1% – largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I couldn’t agree more with the statement by the IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore:

“As the world contends with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the enduring power of music to console, heal and lift our spirits.

Some things are timeless, like the power of a great song or the connection between artists and fans. But some things have changed. With so much of the world in lockdown and live music shut down, in nearly every corner of the globe most fans enjoyed music via streaming.” 

And, the whole world was happier with music:

·       Latin America maintained its position as the fastest-growing region globally (15.9%) as streaming revenues grew by 30.2% and accounted for 84.1% of the region’s total revenues.

·       Asia grew 9.5% and digital revenues surpassed a 50% share of the region’s total revenues, for the first time. Excluding Japan (which saw a decline of 2.1% in revenue), Asia would have been the fastest-growing region, with exceptional growth of 29.9%

·       Featured as a region in the report for the first time, recorded music revenues in the Africa & Middle East region increased by 8.4%, driven primarily by the Middle East & North Africa region (37.8%). Streaming dominated, with revenues up 36.4%.

·       Revenues in Europe, the second-largest recorded music region in the world, grew by 3.5% as strong streaming growth of 20.7% offset declines in all other consumption formats.

·       The US & Canada region grew 7.4% in 2020. The USmarket grew by 7.3% and Canadian recorded music revenues grew by 8.1%.

Monday, 14 March 2022

A Compelling Read: New Yorker Article on the U.S. Department of Justice's "China Initiative"

The New Yorker has published an important, fascinating and excellent article concerning Franklin Tao, a university researcher, who was caught up in the U.S. Department of Justice's China Initiative.  The article is titled, "Have Chinese Spies Infiltrated American Campuses," and is authored by Gideon Lewis-Kraus.  The article mostly focuses on Mr. Tao's experience, but also raises numerous important questions about the Trump Administration's China Initiative and its general approach. Notably, the Biden Administration has discontinued that initiative, but see here on addressing "The PRC Threat." The article may be classified as additional proof under the Trump Administration critique: "Can Spot a Problem, But Proposes Unworkable and Likely Ultimately Unproductive Solutions." The article could focus a bit more on how in some technical fields the line between basic and applied research is blurred.  Additionally, the question of industry competitiveness (and dare I say protection) is an important one that has national security implications--especially in a global economy.  This is particularly true where private interests control a significant amount of critical (and other) infrastructure and national governments spend significant amounts of funding on research and development that leads to economic development.  It is important to remember that many universities in the United States are land grant institutions with direction to help develop local economic interests.  The Bayh-Dole Act itself points toward a preference for U.S. economic development.  Moreover, democracy relies upon the trust and the relative prosperity of many of its citizens (the protection of good paying middle class jobs). The article seems to indicate that the big difference between now and past policy concerning approaches to sharing technology with, for example, the Soviet Union, is that the United States is no longer perceived as being "on top."  There may be some truth to that, but I don't think it is the full story: a lot has happened since then besides that fear. The important recommended article is available, here. I hope it stimulates more thought and conversation. 

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Intellectual Property Valuation & Technology Transfer. Current Practice and Challenges

 To join OxFirst for a Free Webinar Click on the Link Below:


Date & Time:  March 29 2022 15h00 -16h00 GMT = 16.00 – 17.00 CET

IP Valuation and Tech Transfer

What the Talk is About

The webinar will focus on strategies for technology transfer from academic research institutions to industry, with attention to current practices and challenges across Israel. Israel has a well-developed infrastructure for the commercializing of early-stage technologies developed within research institutions. This infrastructure includes sophisticated university technology transfer offices, ambitious government funding programs, and a mature venture capital ecosystem. Ronen Kreizman will provide insights into how technology transfer offices pursue optimal and sustainable commercialization strategies for early-stage academic technology. Eli Greenbaum will describe Israeli government funding mechanisms for technology transfer, and how such mechanisms complicate the transfer and licensing of intellectual property by grant recipients. 


About the Speakers

Dr. Ronen Kreizman, VP Business Development Life Science, Weizmann Institute. 

Eli Greenbaum, Partner. Yigal Arnon & Co. and Adjunct Faculty, Reichman University.