Your tax dollars at work. Obama administration funding of pro-right holder NGO work on IPR protection, fy 2009

USPTO’s $4 million of Congressionally Mandated Spending on intellectual property initiatives, for fy 2009

This is the USPTO list of grants for fy 2009. The $4 million in grants were used to influence global norms on IPR policy.

A new round of grants will go out soon for fy 2010, involving another $4 million of Congressionally Mandated Spending on Intellectual Property Initiatives (IPI).

In the first round, most of the money went to groups that are also supported by Microsoft and Pfizer and other right-owner groups, including groups founded by Dick Armey (IPI) and Newt Gingrich.

Among the groups funded, two, PIPRA and Light Years IP, seem the most appropriate.

Five (GW CIEC, IIPI, IPI, IPOEF and the Progress and Freedom Foundation) are non-profits that are funded by and typically represent U.S. corporate right-holder interests.

None of the groups funded are known for addressing concerns of consumers over high prices of and access to medicines or copyrighted goods.

Common thread: Microsoft has ties to all seven NGOs funded by the USPTO.*. Which is not surprising when you realize that Gary Locke, the former Governor of Washington State, is Secretary of Commerce.

The following non-profit organizations have received joint project agreement (JPA) or cooperative agreement (CA) awards in response to this RFP. Information is also provided identifying the organization’s project assignments. These projects represent a broad array of USPTO priorities based on development and capacity building initiatives, geographic areas of interest/concern, a desire to advocate the United States position on various issues, cutting-edge issues of global importance, and the need to raise intellectual property awareness.

George Washington University Creative and Innovative Economy Center
Key personnel: Michael Ryan, Marty Adelman
Corporate funders. More insight here.

  • China Climate Change-Related Technology Innovation & Patent Policy – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $78,000.00

Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI)
Key personnel: Tom Giovanetti, Dr. Merrill Matthews Jr., Peter Ferrara. Founded by Dick Armey.
More here. Examples of IPI funded work on IP: Susan Finston: If the Thai government really wants to improve public health, it should stop trampling intellectual property rights. See also Tom Giovanetti’s 2009 speech to the Tea Party.

  • Counterfeiting, Public Health and Development – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $131,000.00
  • An Analysis of the Global Policy Environment for Clean Energy Technologies and Implications for Innovation and IP – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $88,500.00
  • Traditional Knowledge: Case Studies and Conclusions – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $74,000.00

Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Educational Foundation
Key personnel: Herbert C. Wamsley
Board, Donors.

  • International Judges Conference on IP Law – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $450,000.00

International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI)
Key personnel: Bruce Lehman, Ralph Oman

  • IP Audit and Wealth Creation Program for a Developing Country Trading Partner – Joint Project Agreement, award amount $500,000.00
  • Strengthening IP Protection of Indigenous Crafts and Traditional Cultural Expressions – Joint Project Agreement, award amount $1,000,000.00
  • Improving Copyright Protection & Enforcement in Cambodia – Joint Project Agreement, award amount $128,500.00

Light Years IP
Key personnel: Ron Layton, John Kilama, Getachew Mengestie
Various associates.
Comment: An IP as a power tool for development group, partly funded by DFID in the UK.
(John Kilama on why Bangladesh needs pharmaceutical product patents.)

  • African IP trust – Designated to Support, educate and Enforce African IP Rights – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $600,000.00

Progress & Freedom Foundation – Center for the Study of Digital Property (CSDP)
Key personnel: Adam D. Thierer, others
Founded by Newt Gingrich.
Various corporate funders

  • Efficacy of Pre-established Damages as a Means of Protecting IPR: The Case of Statutory Damages in U.S. Copyright Law – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $150,000.00
  • Benefits of Strong IP Rights to Newly Industrial Nations – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $200,000.00

The Regents of the University of California – Public International Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA)
Key personnel: Alan B Bennett
Comment: PIPRA was the best of the bunch, by far.

  • Series of Workshops Introducing Basic Concepts of IP Management such as Obtaining IP Protection, Licensing and Commercialization in East Asia, Latin America and Africa – Cooperative Agreement, award amount $600,000.00


Microsoft ties

  • GW CIEC. The The Creative and Innovative Economy Center is funded by Microsoft.
  • IIPI. Serving on the Board of Advisors is Susan Mann, Federal Government Affairs Manager at Microsoft. Among other things, Susan is a former USPTO official.
  • IPI. Microsoft has funded IPI work to oppose antitrust regulation of Microsoft, and to criticize open source software.
  • IPO Educational Foundation. Bart Eppenauer of Microsoft Corp. is on the Board of Directors
  • Light Years IP. Acting as an Advisor is Dick Wilder, Associate General Counsel for IP Policy, Microsoft Corporation. Among other things, Wilder is a former USPTO official.
  • PIPRA. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a funder of PIPRA’s work.
  • Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF). Works closely with Microsoft on Microsoft antitrust disputes, and to oppose open source software procurement policies.