USPTO Refuses To Respond To Senators' Questions On Legality Of ACTA

from the trust-us... dept

The effort the administration is going through to avoid discussing ACTA is really quite stunning. Two US Senators, Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown, asked USPTO Director David Kappos to respond to specific questions about the legality of certain issues in ACTA. Kappos has now "responded" by not actually responding. He sent a letter back that did not actually address any of the issues raised, but merely said "our USPTO issue experts will continue to work with USTR as they finalize the results achieved in Tokyo." That's not a response. That's a dodge. You can read the entire letter after the jump.


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  1.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 3:37pm

    Boilerplate

    Is it just me, or does that letter read exactly like a rejection letter from a publisher?

     

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  2.  
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    James Carmichael (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 3:38pm

    I sincerely hope Sanders and Brown follow up on this one. I mean, that letter is insulting to say the least.

    Is there anyone in the ACTA that's not obviously sided with trade organizations and corporations? Because otherwise, why would anyone want to implement an agreement that's been entirely written by a bunch of corporations? In other words, how is the ACTA any different from the UN's numerous non binding agreements?

    I'm not that surprised that such a document has been written, what surprises me is that anyone anywhere might take it seriously. Are lobbyists across the world THAT powerful?

     

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  3.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 17th, 2010 @ 3:51pm

    Well yeah

    Makes perfect sense when you realize who's actually running things.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 4:23pm

    Passing the Buck

    Mr. Kappos honored that fine bureaucratic tradition which is... Passing the buck.
    He essentially says: 'I've been advising the USTR, but I'm not responsible for this. I don't have any answers to your questions. Go ask the USTR'

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 4:59pm

    The Sanders/Sherrod letter was obviously written by a third party (JL anyone?) who used Mr. Sanders' counsel to serve as its shill by sending the letter to the USPTO. I would be surprised if Messrs. Sanders and Sherrod even read it for substance.

    Accordingly, Mr. Kappos' response was entirely appropriate.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2010 @ 9:55pm

    Re:

    First, it is Mr Sanders and Mr Brown. At least have the decency to use their proper names. Secondly, do you have anything to back up this assertion?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re:

    I stand corrected on the name of the second signatory.

    As for your second question, even a casual perusal of the KEI website reveals that the form, structure, questions, assertions, etc. of the letter signed by Messrs. Sanders and Brown very closely, if not exactly, track articles presented there. Moreover, Messrs. Sanders and Brown do not sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, nor to my knowledge have they presented any comments to the committee expressing any concerns they may have with the proposed bill, which would certainly have been the case had either of them held any reservations about the bill as presented.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:42am

    Where's the "jump", what is the "jump" and why is there always a "jump" in every article now?

    When it says "You can read the entire letter after the jump." and then the letter is right there and no "jump" to be seen, is the "jump" missing or is it simply really, really, really small and I can't see it, or even invisible? Is Van Halen involved, missing, small or invisible also?

    Or did noscript/adblock steal my "jump"?

     

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  9.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I would be surprised if Messrs. Sanders and Sherrod even read it for substance.

    It's Sanders and Brown, but you already were corrected on that.

    You seem to be implying that neither one really cares about the issue, and are only letting themselves be used by Knowledge Ecology International. That's not the case.

    For example, Sen. Sanders gave his support for a Vermont brewery that was accused of infringement by Monster Energy Drink. And Sen. Brown has a strong interest in international trade agreements; he previously voted "No" for CAFTA, which included (among many other things) requirements that Central America implement IP laws.

    even a casual perusal of the KEI website reveals that the form, structure, questions, assertions, etc. of the letter signed by Messrs. Sanders and Brown very closely, if not exactly, track articles presented there.

    Anyone who communicates in Washington has to use very specific language. It's not a surprise that a phrase here or there would be repeated. If you think they are simple shills, then by all means present evidence that they didn't write the letter.

    Messrs. Sanders and Brown do not sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, nor to my knowledge have they presented any comments to the committee expressing any concerns they may have with the proposed bill

    ACTA is not a bill, it is an "executive agreement." There is no Senate committee, because Congress is not involved in any way. They do not have to approve it, or even be aware of it, for the President to sign it into law.

    Perhaps you're thinking of COICA? If that's the case, it's very revealing...

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I should have used "agreement" instead of "bill".

    One of the problems here is that if any strong opposition to the agreement on the basis of Article 1 powers was present within the Senate, it would be raised, and loudly, by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the body within Congress that deals specifically with intellectual property matters. To the best of my recollection, no one on the committee has raised any concerns that ACTA improperly intrudes into the legislative powers of Congress secured by Article 1.

    You say that communications in DC requires the use of very specific language. I have read hundreds of letters from members of Congress to officials within the Executive Branch. This one stands out as clearly being far, far, far removed from the norm. In fact, I have personally never read a letter even remotely approaching the substantive content and breadth of this letter.

    As for who wrote the letter, neither Mr. Sanders nor Mr. Brown are versed in this area of law to anywhere near the extent required for them to have written it. Letters such as this are prepared by staffers, which in this case is almost certainly Mr. Sander's staff counsel since he is identified as the point of contact. Knowing his background in law, it is inconceiveable that he was the author. Hence, the list of likely authors starts to winnow down very quickly. Given that the letter tracks almost exactly with articles published by KEI, I believe a member of its staff is the likely author.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A further observation:

    All online reports/articles concerning the letter from Messrs. Sanders and Brown, and the letter from Mr. Kappos, track back to KEI directly and KEI indirectly because of the article here.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    Re:

    Where's the "jump", what is the "jump" and why is there always a "jump" in every article now?

    It's standard blog terminology for if the content is included on the front page or not. It's included in the article page, but not the front page

     

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  13.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As for who wrote the letter, neither Mr. Sanders nor Mr. Brown are versed in this area of law to anywhere near the extent required for them to have written it. Letters such as this are prepared by staffers, which in this case is almost certainly Mr. Sander's staff counsel since he is identified as the point of contact. Knowing his background in law, it is inconceiveable that he was the author. Hence, the list of likely authors starts to winnow down very quickly. Given that the letter tracks almost exactly with articles published by KEI, I believe a member of its staff is the likely author.

    Odd that you don't make the same points when Senators republish briefs and laws written by the RIAA and MPAA.

    I wonder why not...

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Show me a brief republished by Senators and I will be pleased to provide substantive comments.

    As for who writes laws, of course people who do not hold elected office have a hand in taking a first cut at bills they would like to see introduced. Personally, I do not see this as a failure of our political system, but as a strength.

     

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  15.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As for who writes laws, of course people who do not hold elected office have a hand in taking a first cut at bills they would like to see introduced. Personally, I do not see this as a failure of our political system, but as a strength.

    Wait, what? So... it's ridiculous and mock-worthy that KEI may have written this letter... but praise-worthy that the MPAA and RIAA wrote ACTA?!?

    You really have no shame in your industry *redacted*.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I have no "industry", so so suggest this to be the case is clearly incorrect.

    A comment directed to me personally and saying I have no shame is completely out of line and discourteous.

    All of the discussions concerning this letter strongly suggest that it originated with them. Clearly it did not. Importantly, at no time have I ever suggested it was wrong for a third party to prepare the letter. To state or suggest otherwise is likewise wrong.

    If the KEI or any other thrid party outside of government wants to take a cut at preparing an initial draft of legislation it would like to have introduced is entirely proper. There is nothing nefarious about this in the slightest. This is why I believe this is a strength of our political system. Anyone is free to "petition" our government, and this includes the submittal of proposed legislation.

     

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