Latest Version Of Anti-TPP, RCEP, Shows That Its Intellectual Property Provisions Are Even Worse
from the from-bad-to-worse dept
Last summer, we wrote a bit about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a trade agreement that is being worked on by a bunch of Asian countries, and which is often described as an “anti-TPP” or, at the very least, a competitor to the TPP. It’s being driven by China and India — two countries who were not in the TPP process. Given how concerned we were with the TPP, we had hoped, at the very least, that RCEP would be better on things like intellectual property. Unfortunately, some early leaks suggested it was even worse. And while the TPP is still grinding through the ratification process in various countries, RCEP has continued to move forward, and the bad ideas have stuck around.
Knowledge Ecology International just released a leaked copy of the agreement’s draft intellectual property chapter, and it’s basically chock full of bad ideas. As KEI’s Jamie Love notes:
The RCEP will be a massive trade agreement and the content of the IP Chapter is important. It will bind India and China, two countries left out of the TPP. Japan and Korea are trying to push many of the worst ideas from ACTA, TPP and other trade agreements into the RCEP IP Chapter. Some of the issues that negotiators did not understand in the TPP, such as the damages provisions, are also lurking in this text, creating risks that negotiators will do worse than they think, because the secrecy of the negotiations insulates the negotiators from timely feedback on technically complex issues. Japan and Korea are pushing for test data monopolies, without the same safeguards available to patent monopolies. There are proposals for patent extensions, restrictive rules on exceptions to copyright, and dozens of other anti-consumer measures, illustrating the power of right-holder groups to use secret trade negotiations to limit democratic decisions that impact access to knowledge, the freedom to innovate and the right to health, in negative ways.
The TPP is not good on intellectual property (at all). But seeing RCEP apparently be just as bad, if not worse, is not exactly encouraging. As I’ve said in the past, I think free trade is an important ideal, but free trade agreements are increasingly about something entirely different, and it’s about backdoor (and backroom) mechanisms for putting in place regulatory frameworks that favor certain legacy players.