Yet another problematic acronym – the IPAA


ACTA, SOPA, PIPA, CISPACOICA, even TPP… and now IPAA. And that is without considering the various bilateral treaty negotiations (CETA being the newest one to hit the headlines). If there were points in life for trying to maximise IP regimes, it seems certain Hollywood lobbyists (and others) would be getting top scores. (For fun, try to read that top line out loud as fast as you can)
While the EU is trying to push ACTA provisions in the backdoor (after rejecting it in the parliament) through the EU – Canada FTA, the US is trying to push certain SOPA provisions in through a new bill. IPAA or the Intellectual Property Attaché Act, is a new bill that Senator Lamar Smith (author of the now infamous SOPA) is pushing for. You might remember that we recently wrote about USPTO’s Teresa Rae testimony before Congress saying that they (USPTO) were doing their best to educate Indian officials about maximalist IP policies (as well as why India should not use compulsory licenses). In line with what she said there, this bill aims to move those ‘diplomats’ from under the USPTO to its own agency under the Department of Commerce with a new position ‘Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property’ as well.
In other words, this would allow and fund more IP maximisation ‘education’ and the aggressive pursuit of intellectual property enforcement to countries all across the globe. As it is, the attachés are already known for complaining that other countries don’t agree with US’ views on intellectual property. 
The IP attaché for India in 2008, Dominc Keating, had earlier said “India has a history of being anti-IP in its views,” particularly toward the patent protection of pharmaceuticals. Ironically, the US Dept of Commerce also lamented that ‘Anti-IP activists were spending tens of millions of dollars trying to minimise IP rights). Looking at Teresa Rae’s statement now in 2012, we know that they haven’t learnt (or don’t care to learn) anything about contextualisation of IP policy so far. Rather, this seems yet another stubborn attempt at ensuring they get what they want regardless of how it affects other countries or even themselves. For more on this ‘policy laundering’, watch the video above.
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Swaraj Paul Barooah

Swaraj Paul Barooah

Follow @swarajpb Swaraj has a deep interest in IP, Innovation and Information policy, especially when they involve issues relating to Access to Knowledge, Innovation incentive mechanisms, Digital Freedoms, Open Access, Education, Health and Development. After his BA, LLB (hons) from Nalsar Univ of Law, Hyderabad, he went on to do his LLM from UC Berkeley in 2010. He is now pursuing his J.S.D. degree from UC Berkeley where he is focusing on Drug Innovation Policy and Access to Medicines. Aside from SpicyIP, he is also engaged as a consultant on various IP matters, and is a visiting faculty member at Nalsar Univ of Law. He is also in the process of starting up a New Delhi based "IP, Innovation & Information Policy" focused think-tank.

One comment.

  1. AvatarAnonymous

    When I saw title of your blog, I thought you were talking about Intellectual Property Attorneys Association, New Delhi Which was formed in 1996 and is called IPAA. We also have Asian Patent Attorneys Association (APAA), the headquarters of which are in Japan and most of the Asian Countries are members having their recognized groups.

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