This is the first of a number of posts on this year's Fordham IP conference, which was opened as ever by Professor Hugh C. Hansen.
Antony Taubman (head of Global IP Issues, WTO) spoke first, asking what the trade-related aspects of TRIPS actually are. Tony reassured us all that TRIPS, post-Doha, was alive and well. Topics under the TRIPS microscope include the iPod economy and the iTunes economy, as well as the dispersion of chains of product creation, manufacture and distribution -- and even a spot of dispute resolution.
Tony was followed, almost as soon as he had started, by James Pooley (WIPO Deputy DG for patents), who affirmed that IP was just one of a number of trade issues, which meant that we have to speak to non-IP people too in order to identify and resolve modern trade issues. James explained some of the dynamics of multilateral and plurilateral discussions, and the problem of "lost voices" among players who have no opportunity to be heard. James contrasted the way negotiations on ACTA were conducted with the highly open operations of the IP Five, who now have their own website.
Stanford McCoy (Assistant US Trade Represenative for IP and Innovation) then reviewed regional, pluri-, multi- and bilateral IP talks from a national government's point of view. These options are not exclusive, he observed, and are all responses to questions raised. Stanford praised ACTA for the very open manner in which it produced so many texts in such a short time, though this Kat can't recall hearing him make mention of the word "leaks" -- the means by which he, Merpel and their many friends discovered what was actually happening. In a beautiful metaphor, Stanford also described ACTA as a tree on which IP owners could hang their anxieties.
These speakers then gave way to the panellists, starting with Mihaly Ficsor. Hugh Hansen asked if individuals can ever make a difference to IP policy any more. Mihaly said "yes", he had made an individual contribution, and so did Francis Gurry -- as his speech on the Future of Copyright showed (see here for the Gurry/WIPO position on copyright).
Amidst much talk of the need for flexibility, leaving doors open, the need for watchfulness and similarly grand propositions, the session came to a close.