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Lawyers down under slam US proposal for IP treaty

Erica Poon, Hong Kong

Lawyers in Australia and New Zealand have strongly criticised a leaked US draft of the IP chapter of a multilateral free-trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership

If signed in its current form, the treaty would compel both countries to change their IP laws.

"I’d be horrified if some of these suggested changes became part of our law without proper debate," said Sheana Wheeldon, a partner at Kensington Swan in Auckland.

The US has drafted the IP chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multilateral free trade agreement being negotiated in secret by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia and the US.

The 38-page IP chapter was supposed to be classified until four years after the agreement entered into force, or four years after the close of negotiations if no agreement is signed.

Knowledge Ecology International, an advocacy group, published the IP chapter on its website and has urged Congress to "intervene and require such texts be made public routinely"....

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