EU considering excluding UK from trade talks before Brexit

Brussels is eyeing the exclusion of Britain from updates on EU trade talks amid concerns that the UK could take advantage of sensitive information [in its own post-> > After a briefing last month by Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, the European Commission warned that there needed to be a “discussion about the treatment of sensitive information in the context of certain trade negotiations, to which the UK would continue to have access to while it remained a full member of the union”.

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The situation is complicated by the fact that the EU has the exclusive right to negotiate trade deals for member states, meaning the UK has no legal right to initiate formal bilateral talks with other countries before Brexit happens in 2019.

Trade experts say one option would be for the UK to opt out of the information loop during the Brexit process in exchange for an agreement with Europe to allow it begin bilateral talks before it leaves the bloc.

Financial Times

This option is not optimal. Does the UK have the resources to initiate formal negotiations before the Breixt? Does anyone have any ideas what to negotiate with the UK Before the deal between the EU and the UK is clear?

Unwired Planet v Huawei

Fresh off the press is today's decision from Mr Justice Birss in Unwired Planet v Huawei [2017] EWHC 711.

There are some interesting FRAND findings. I am curious about the reasoning about why the insistence on a worldwide listener is FRAND.

(6) FRAND characterises the terms of a licence but also refers to the process by which a licence is negotiated. Although an implementer does not owe a FRAND obligation to ETSI, an implementer who wishes to take advantage of the patentee’s FRAND obligation, must themselves negotiate in a FRAND manner.

(7) Offers in negotiation which involves rates higher or lower than the FRAND rate but do not disrupt or prejudice the negotiation are legitimate.

(8) An appropriate way to determine a FRAND royalty is to determine a benchmark rate which is governed by the value of the patentee’s portfolio. That will be fair, reasonable and generally non-discriminatory. The rate does not vary depending on the size of the licensee. It will eliminate hold-up and hold-out. Small new entrants are entitled to pay a royalty based on the same benchmark as established large entities.

(9) The non-discrimination limb of FRAND does not consist of a further “hard edged” component which would justify a licensee demanding a lower rate than the benchmark rate because that lower rate had in fact been given to a different but similarly situated licensee. If FRAND does include such a component, then that obligation would only apply if the difference would distort competition between the two licensees.

– by Annsley Merelle Ward in BREAKING: Birss J hands down first FRAND decision in Unwired Planet v Huawei

Not gonna be a clean break

Apple has not presented any evidence to substantiate its assertion that it will no longer require Imagination’s technology, without violating Imagination’s patents, intellectual property and confidential information. This evidence has been requested by Imagination but Apple has declined to provide it.

Further, Imagination believes that it would be extremely challenging to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights, accordingly Imagination does not accept Apple’s assertions.

Discussions with Apple regarding license agreement - Imagination Technologies

Trump-Xi meeting: How Trump seeks to push his trade agenda forward

Rather than a willingness to make fundamental changes to their economies, experts said the Chinese were more likely to come bearing political enticements, like promises of investments in manufacturing plants.

"The risk is that the Chinese see President Trump as very transactional by nature and they would be all too happy to say, 'OK tell us what you want us to buy of yours,' rather than focus on the fundamental changes they need to make to their economy," said Michael Froman, the former US Trade Representative under President Barack Obama.

– by Jeremy Diamond in Trump-Xi meeting: How Trump seeks to push his trade agenda forward on Trump-Xi meeting: How Trump seeks to push his trade agenda forward

Net Asian FDI falls to record low

A paper co-authored by Mr Wuttke, China Manufacturing 2025, spoke of restrictions being tightened in many areas, with foreign hybrid and electric carmakers facing “intense pressure to turn over advanced technology in exchange for near-term market access” due to new legislation, information technology companies “seeing market access constrict further”, and other sectors unbalanced by government subsidies to favoured domestic companies and biased government procurement rules.

Financial Times

They don't need you as badly as before.

Editorial of Wilbur Ross — Donald Trump will make trade fair again

And how much of the problem is lack of reciprocity? US tariffs on imported cars are 2.5 per cent, but American exports of similar vehicles carry tariffs as high as 25 per cent.

Financial Times

There are so many problems of this editorial. The above quote shows how deep the misunderstanding this administration has. Reciprocity has never been about the same product. The US has its bargain on other products and other agreements.

May suggests UK will not finalise EU trade talks before Brexit

“I’m clear that by that point at which we leave the EU, it’s right that everybody should know what the future arrangements, the future relationship, that future partnership between us and the EU will be. That’s the sensible thing. It’s a pragmatic way to look at this and I believe that’s what we’ll do.”

Financial Times

The "future arrangements" does sound like a framework arrangement.

Donald Trump’s North Korea warning sparks concern in Asia

Mr Graham said that Chinese diplomats felt they had the upper hand ahead of this week’s summit meeting between Chinese president Xi Jinping and Mr Trump because of the US president's lack of foreign policy experience.

“That inexperience raises the question of whether it's prudent to engage at such a high level with China so early on, when the basic elements of US Asia policy are yet to be sorted and appear incoherent,” he added.

Financial Times

Trump demands solution to US trade deficits with China and others

Donald Trump has ordered officials to find a solution to the US trade deficits with China and other major economies just days ahead of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The US president signed an executive order on Friday calling for a 90-day country-by-country and product-by-product study of the US’s $500bn annual trade deficit. China’s more than $300bn contribution to that will come under close scrutiny, administration officials said, and the study will examine possible solutions to be enacted even before it is finished.

Financial Times on Trump demands solution to US trade deficits with China and others

China relaxes rules on software patentability – and the United States loses more ground

According to Huang, the revised guidelines draw a distinction between ‘computer programs per se’ and ‘inventions related to computer programs’, with the latter being patent-eligible. Here is his comment on the current status of software patents under Chinese statute, and how the incoming rules are likely to impact examination practice:

In the past, a software-related invention could be drafted only as a process claim or a ‘means plus function’ claim, and the latter is usually construed in a very narrow manner according to embodiments disclosed in the specification. Medium, computer program product and ‘processor plus process’ [claims] are not statutory subject matter in China. Consequently, patent protection for software-related inventions is weak and limited.

This problem may be addressed by the revised guidelines. Software claims such as ‘a computer program product’, ‘a machine-readable medium’, and ‘an apparatus comprising a processor configured to execute instructions on a computer-readable medium to perform steps of...’ shall become patent-eligible. A comprehensive protection for software-related patents is now expectable.

– in China relaxes rules on software patentability – and the United States loses more ground on Blog - Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) - Maximising IP Value for Business

Trump Advisers Are All Wrong about South Korea Trade Deal

The Trump Administration’s top trade advisers are entirely wrong about what happened when with respect to trade between the U.S. and South Korea. KORUS had no effect at all on U.S. imports of auto, chips, motors or pumps between 2009 and 2015, because the U.S. auto tariff was unchanged until 2016 (when overall U.S. imports fell) and most other industrial products were already tariff-free before KORUS.

The Korea-U.S. trade deficit in goods did not rise from 2011 to 2015 (or fall in 2016) because of U.S. auto tariff cuts in 2016, but because the U.S. economy strengthened after 2010 and the Korean economy weakened after 2014.

– by Alan Reynolds in Trump Advisers Are All Wrong about South Korea Trade Deal| Cato @ Liberty

This piece is simple and straight-forward.

US envoy says US-EU trade deal still a

Brussels (AFP) - Negotiations for a mega US-EU trade deal are still alive after they were suspended over elections and public opposition on both sides of the Atlantic, a senior US diplomat said Tuesday.

EU officials had feared US President Donald Trump would abandon the four-year talks for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) after he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific.

"I would really take issue with the notion that the TTIP is dead," said Adam Shub, who is running the US mission to the European Union pending Trump's appointment of a new ambassador.

US envoy says US-EU trade deal still alive

It is not such a surprise in that TTIP is a bilateral agreement, and form over substance seems to be the characteristics for Trump administration's trade policy.

Italy calls for G7 to challenge Donald Trump on trade

As host of the G7 summit, Mr Gentiloni is in a position to craft the agenda but other G7 leaders – who have been troubled by the US’s new stance on trade – appeared to agree that it was worth trying to force the issue when they meet Mr Trump in Sicily.

Financial Times on Italy calls for G7 to challenge Donald Trump on trade

Not much use in putting pressure on the man not in charge.

Another trademark dispute coming?

Heineken’s red star logo could be outlawed in Hungary under draft legal changes to prohibit the use of “totalitarian symbols” for commercial purposes, 28 years after the central European country ended Communist rule.

– in Financial Times on Hungary considers outlawing Heineken red star logo

EU digital commissioner attacks Germany’s hate speech bill

Speaking at the CeBIT technology trade fair in Hanover, Mr Ansip said it was “pretty dangerous” to prohibit internet hoaxes and said governments should instead “trust to people’s common sense”. “Fake news is bad, but a Ministry of Truth is even worse,” he said.

Financial Times on EU digital commissioner attacks Germany’s hate speech bill

Well said.

A short-sighted policy

“The results of this system have not lived up to expectations,” the report says. “These figures indicated that while the current global trading system has been great for China, a giant economy that does not act on the basis of market principles, the United States (and many other countries) that practise market-based capitalism have struggled over the last 16 years.”

Trump has WTO rulings in sights, leaked report shows

This view does not take into account the benefits obtained by the US in other forms, such as Services and IP. This also means the new direction will undermine the future gain in this area.

Fighting over the agenda

Ahead of meetings of G20 leaders in the first week of March in Berlin, the WTO secretariat has already presented its views. The presentations objected to by India are titled: E-commerce, WTO Rules and Regional Trade Agreements and Investment Facilitation: WTO’s Contribution to the TIWG Discussion. TIWG stands for Trade and Investment Working Group.

Coming down heavily on the presentations, India reportedly asked WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo, who is also the chair of the trade negotiations committee: “Were the contents of these presentations discussed by members and was there a consensus on the propositions contained therein that the WTO should be encouraged to launch a dialogue on strengthening trade and investment policy coherence or that there should be further discussions towards a multilateral outcome on e-commerce?”

– by D. ravi kanth in India accuses WTO of raking up new issues

TPP Minus One

Australia’s trade minister says he will use the Chilean meeting to promote the idea of a “TPP minus one” deal that would build a pan-Pacific trade deal without the United States.

– by STEVEN CHASE in Canada, China to attend summit on free trade after TPP collapse on Canada, China to attend summit on free trade after TPP collapse - The Globe and Mail

TSMC knocks Foxconn from Taiwan top spot as filings and purchases enhance patent portfolio

TSMC on a patent filing and shopping spree?

It is noteworthy that a significant number of TSMC’s recent acquisitions have come from NPEs (Dynamic Invention LLC appears to be a Transpacific IP-affiliated vehicle, based on USPTO assignment histories). By a substantial margin, the top vendor of patents to TSMC over the last year is Canada’s WiLAN, with which the Taiwanese company signed a licence and acquisition agreement in April 2016. No doubt with one eye on the competition brewing across the Taiwan Strait, now is as good a time as any for TSMC to equip itself for future run-ins and bargaining opportunities.

– by in TSMC knocks Foxconn from Taiwan top spot as filings and purchases enhance patent portfolio on TSMC knocks Foxconn from Taiwan top spot as filings and purchases enhance patent portfolio - Blog - Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) - Maximising IP Value for Business