Intellectual Property Law

New Matter SUMMER 2017, Volume 41, Number 3

International IP Developments

Aurelia J. Schultz

MARRAKESH COMES INTO FORCE; COPYRIGHT, PATENT AND TRADEMARK TREATIES RECEIVE NEW MEMBERS

The most exciting news this quarter is probably that the Marrakesh Treaty entering into effect on September 30. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled was completed in 2013. Its goal is pretty straightforward, as it is in its name. This treaty differs from other WIPO Treaties in two important ways. First, unlike most WIPO treaties, which are focused on recognizing rights, the Marrakesh Treaty focuses on harmonizing exceptions and limitations. Second, most WIPO treaties require 30 notifications of accession or ratification to come into force; the Marrakesh Treaty required only twenty.1 The twentieth notification was made by Canada on June 30, giving the country something extra to celebrate the following day on its national Canada Day holiday.2 As of this writing, the United States has not yet ratified the Marrakesh Treaty, but the administration has expressed its desire to join and President Obama has sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification.3

Other treaties with new members over the past quarter include: The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the Purpose of the Patent Procedure by Colombia.4 The Budapest Treaty creates a union of co-recognizing countries for the purpose of microorganisms deposited for patent filing procedures.5 The United States was an early ratifier of the treaty.6 Colombia’s accession includes a number of caveats deferring to the Colombian constitution and noting that the Andean Community, of which Colombia is a member, also has a similar existing agreement.7 The Patent Cooperation Treaty, PCT, (Djibouti8 and Kuwait9), the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, which the United States joined in 201510 (North Korea11 and Suriname12), the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, which harmonizes trademark administration procedures among member states (North Korea13). And lastly, the tiny island nation of Niue in the South Pacific has joined the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.14 This is the first international copyright agreement the United States has directly with Niue, which is a self-governed protectorate of New Zealand.15

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