Workshop on Intellectual Property

(Note: This is a re-post from the GPC website)

The workshop on Intellectual Property went well today, and we had a diverse group of people to start discussing the issue. The following was printed and provided as a handout at the workshop.

We hope to be able to get together online and to continue the discussion with the hopeful result to be resolutions to bring to future Members Meetings/Conferences.


Towards a Green Party position on Intellectual Property

  • Purpose of workshop is not to try to get answers to the controversial questions that this topic raises, but to have Federal Greens start to ask some of the important question.
  • Intellectual Property and Physical Property have things in common and things that are quite different. The most obvious difference is that Intellectual Property only exists in statute where both the exclusivity and the social constructs to arbitrate that exclusivity are defined in law. With physical property the exclusivity is defined by the laws of physics (Matter can only exist in one place at one time, and cannot share that space with other matter) and property laws are then used to arbitrate this natural exclusivity.
  • Intellectual Property (IP) law itself is a Federal responsibility, broken down into the different types of IP (Canadian Intellectual Property Office:
    1. Patent - Inventors exclusive rights to their inventions (Basic ideas)
    2. Copyright- (Copyright Board: - the right to copy - means that an owner is the only person who may copy his/her work or permit someone else to do so.
    3. Trademarks - registration gives you exclusive rights to words, symbols and designs, or combinations of these, that distinguish your wares or services from those of someone else.

    4. Industrial Design and Integrated Circuit Topography are listed separately on the CIPO site, but were not discussed
  • Canada is also involved in international negotiations on IP through WIPO where the North American (Primarily U.S.) model of IP is being suggested as a model worldwide, with centralized IP databases that cross all political borders.
  • Intellectual Property is not static, and over the years has been extended in length, extended in jurisdiction, extended in what is able to by copyright/patent/trademarked. As the same time, government regulation of this form of property is decreasing.
  • Greens need to think about IP both in how they may manage the CIPO different in the future, how they would lobby government for change in the present. We also need to think about internal usage of IP, purchasing policies, freedom of choice, etc.
  • Resolution Samples:
    1. Time limits on Intellectual Property should be tied to the nature of the industry the property will be used in.
    2. The Patent office must be funded to allow for adequate testing of novelty, inventive-step, industrial applicability/usefulness and disclosure. This funding should come from the owners of the IP through a form of "Intellectual Property Tax" (Extension of current fees structure taking into consideration Full Cost Accounting).
  • Case Studies
    1. Patenting Life: Bio-Piracy, The Human Genome Project
    2. Music: Napster,
    3. Amazon Boycott (Patent applicability testing)/ Y2K "windowing", GIF files (Unisys/IBM)
    4. ToyWar (Etoys - Toy Retailer, etoy - Internet Art group)

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