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The European Commission published a document earlier this month to defend the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the face of large public demonstrations against the proposed agreement. In an email interview, Axel Metzger, a professor of intellectual property law at the University of Hanover, discussed ACTA in the context of European Union intellectual property norms. WPR: What is the background of ACTA, and what gaps in the global intellectual property regime is it meant to address? Axel Metzger: The goal of ACTA is to achieve a higher level of enforcement of intellectual property rights. The provisions, for the most part, […]

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In late-January an influential member of the European Parliament urged the European Union to reject a deal with the U.S. on sharing information about air travellers for anti-terror programs. In an email interview, Rocco Bellanova, a researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis, and Paul De Hert, a professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Tilburg University, discussed the EU-U.S. passenger data-sharing agreement. WPR: What is the background of the U.S.-EU passenger data-transfer deal? Rocco Bellanova and Paul De Hert: The 2011 iteration of the so-called passenger name record (PNR) agreement currently under discussion at the European Parliament […]

Discussions of sharing knowledge for global health initiatives typically conjure images of children afflicted with neglected tropical diseases. Knowledge sharing seems like an important but comfortably distant concern for those in industrialized countries. In fact, far from being localized to diseases endemic to developing countries, the concerns — and challenges — of sharing health knowledge are truly global. Take genomic science, a field with deep relevance to residents of industrialized countries, to whom it promises a future of increasingly personalized medicine. Yet that future of tailored therapy depends on the ability to access the collective building blocks of the human […]

At first glance, the ongoing efforts to remove Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria and the unrecognized referendum held in the majority-Serbian areas of northern Kosovo would not appear to have much in common. But both are symptoms of a larger problem that has accelerated in recent years: the delegitimization of the territorially defined state. The classic definition of a state in the international system, as provided by Max Weber and incorporated into international law by the 1933 Montevideo convention, gives the national government the exclusive right to use force to secure its existence and territory. But that norm is […]