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<nettime> "broadening the debate" at WIPO
Bruce Sterling on Wed, 10 Sep 2003 03:11:23 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> "broadening the debate" at WIPO

*It may be just me, but it seems like this "debate"
would be considerably "broadened" if Lois Boland
wasn't the unopposed, unilateral queen of the
information-property universe. Don't Brazil and Finland
and India and France and Germany have patent officers?
Okay, granted, maybe these backward nations don't ever invent
anything -- but isn't somebody being paid to sit there
and pretend that they do?  It seems to me that "international
residents" ought to be urging their own patent bureaucrats
to go speak up in Switzerland, rather than merely urging Lois to
knock it off with the land-grab.




Help Broaden the World IP Debate!

The cost of software, availability of medicine and production of valuable 
scientific knowledge are, in large part, determined by the policies of the 
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Today, WIPO focuses on 
restrictive intellectual property regimes, but it doesn't have to be that 
way tomorrow. WIPO is holding a budget meeting in Geneva from September 
8-10, where it will decide whether or not to schedule increased discussions 
of open and collaborative development models (OCDM). OCDM includes open 
source software like Linux and collaborative scientific endeavors like the 
Human Genome Project - valuable initiatives that benefit the public. WIPO 
expressed support for such a discussion, but backed off when the U.S. 
Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) warned it away. Tell the USPTO to 
reconsider its misguided stance and support public information goods 
throughout the world! Note: International residents are welcome to take 
this action.

September 9, 2003

Director James E. Rogan
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
2121 Crystal Drive
Crystal Park II
Suite 906
Arlington, VA 22202

A copy of your message will also be sent to:
Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans
Office of the Secretary
United States Department of Commerce
Room 5516
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230

Dear Under Secretary Rogan,

I am writing to request that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) 
support any decision by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  to schedule a meeting on open and collaborative development models at the 
WIPO Budget Committee meeting on September 8-10, 2003.

I was dismayed to read public statements reportedly made by the USPTO that 
expressly opposed WIPO convening a meeting in 2004 to discuss OCDM. I 
believe that the U.S. Government should support the discussion of a full 
range of approaches to the creation of intellectual property and public 
information resources in international policy fora, such as WIPO.

The world policy discourse on information resources has to date been 
focused on creation through intellectual property rights regimes. However,
  other models for producing information resources have already proven to be 
effective, financially lucrative and socially valuable. The development and 
use of "open source" software like the Linux operating system and the 
existence of collaborative scientific endeavors like the Human Genome 
Project create both primary revenue sources for U.S. companies and fertile 
environments for innovation. These open and collaborative development 
projects are only two of a growing range of scientifically and economically 
vital approaches to the generation of information resources.

As the key international body charged with considering and formulating 
intellectual property policy, it would be completely appropriate for WIPO 
to convene a meeting to discuss these important developments and approaches 
to the creation of public information resources. From statements reported 
in a Nature magazine article on July 10, 2003, and subsequent statements 
made by WIPO Assistant Director and Legal Counsel, Mr. Frances Gurry, in 
the Washington Post on August 21 and National Journal's Tech Daily on 
August 19, I understand that WIPO was supportive of convening an 
international policy discussion on these matters. However, it reversed its 
support after Ms. Lois Boland of the USPTO criticized WIPO and 
characterized open source software, only one of the OCDMs in discussion, as 
a contentious U.S. domestic trade issue.

I respectfully urge USPTO to reconsider its opposition and support the 
holding of a 2004 conference on open and collaborative development models 
at the WIPO Program and Budget Committee meeting on September 8-10, 2003.


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