IP a big issue in Canada/EU trade talks
A short but interesting note: The Spanish ambassador to Canada gave an interview last week where he said the prospects for an agreement are positive, but he highlighted three sticking points: agriculture, government contracts (specifically provincial government contracts), and intellectual property.
Its a bit hard to know what to make of this. The text proposed by the EU would have an incredibly wide-ranging impact on Canadian intellectual property laws. It could be that this is the hold-up - simply the huge number of small to large changes on the table. The Canadians and Europeans might have difficulty getting their heads around the implications of so many changes. Intellectual property has historically been a very difficult thing to negotiate in these free trade deals - mainly because it demands a level of detail and specificity not demanded by other trade topics.
But, its also likely that specific items are contentious - but if so, which ones? One strong possibility is copyright - that's been in the news a lot - but the Canadian government is moving to implement new legislation. (a side question - is the government's new copyright legislation connected to the EU/CA trade negotiations? It wouldn't be the first time that the Canadian government changed IP laws ahead of an international agreement to try to smooth the trade agreement negotiations.)
Another possibility is border measures. Another is geographical indications. Both are big issues to Europe.
I would like to think that the proposed patent and pharmaceutical related issues are being given significant (and from my personal point of view, appropriate) weight in these negotiations.
In any case, it certainly highlights how intertwined intellectual property law and international economic law in general have become.