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Weekly web round-up: US IP investment, Customs team-up and the joys of radio station ownership

Some of the best stories about the IP world this week include analysis of the contribution IP makes to US GDP, China’s latest campaign against fakes (no steamrollers thus far), the latest chapter in the ASCAP-Pandora spat and India’s thoughts on the US patent system

US investment on IP stagnant

The US government constantly touts intellectual property and innovation as important drivers o

Seinfeld's Manhands
Seinfeld continues to contribute to the US economy
f the economy, but why do statistics show that investment in IP has actually stalled? That’s the question Tim Fernholz asks. Using data provided from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which recently adopted a new method that attempts to account for intellectual property products. Fernholz argues that investment peaked at 4% of GDP in 2000 and has hovered at around 3.5% since then.

Countries around the world have been talking about the importance of intellectual property, so it would be quite interesting to see how different nations compare. China for one has long spoken of its goals to become an IP producer rather than a manufacturer of others’ innovations. Given that the BEA’s definition of IP products include television shows and sitcoms, it would be curious to see if a Chinese version of Seinfeld  makes a contribution to China’s slowing but still formidable growth machine.

China and the US team up for seizures

A month-long joint operation between US and Chinese ustoms resulted in the seizure of more than 243,000 pieces of counterfeit electronics. The sting resulted in only a single arrest, an American citizen importing counterfeit Beats by Dre headphones for sale.

The 243,000 number sounds impressive and it’s a good sign that the US and China are working together despite increasingly the rancorous dialogue over IP protection. Yet, one must wonder if raids, even on such scale, do more for PR than actually addressing the core problem. There is growing scepticism about so-called “hit-and-run” raids and campaigns and their effectiveness. The campaigns, however, do give us some pretty great pictures.

ASCAP tries to lock Pandora in streaming box

The Register reports that the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block Pandora’s acquisition of a terrestrial radio station in South Dakota. Pandora , the web music-streaming service, and copyright holders have are locked in a dispute over the rates for royalties paid to collecting societies , which Pandora argues discriminates against web services. ASCAP has been giving rate reductions to Pandora’s streaming competitors that are owned by traditional broadcasters. Pandora has openly stated that its desire to acquire a terrestrial broadcast station is driven by its attempt to secure lower royalty rates. In its filing with the FCC, ASCAP argues that because of Pandora’s stated intentions, South Dakota residents “will be left to suffer the consequences of a licensee who has no desire or intention to serve their local needs".

India to US: clean up your (patent) house

Anand Sharma

The US should fix the deficiencies in its patent system that allow for patent trolling and evergreening, said India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in a recent discussion with US Trade Representative Michael Forman. He also said that India has no intention of adopting TRIPs-plus levels of protection as advocated by countries such as the US. These comments come after months of mounting criticisms of India’s patent system, sparked by last year’s grant of the country’s first compulsory licence and the recent rejection of Novartis’s Glivec patent . While international rights holders argue that India does not offer sufficient protection for patent rights, defenders of the patent system tout the country’s higher patentability standards, which some believe actually address these concerns about trolling and evergreening.

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