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[FYI] Trevor Cook: "The WIPO must watch out that this is not an industry stitch-up"


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08 May 2000  

WIPO and technology consortium join forces  

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) must beware of 
ignoring the rights of Internet users, after its announcement that it 
will work together with the world’s leading technology companies to 
resolve industry disputes.  

The WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Centre will assist the 
technology companies in developing guidelines for avoiding disputes 
related to the needs of application service providers (ASPs). ASPs 
are the technology companies that provide and manage software 
applications for the Internet. Most existing software programs are 
bought as tangible retail products, whereas applications provided by 
ASPs are downloaded from the Internet, which means that they are 
easier to pirate. The Application Service Provider Industry 
Consortium (ASPIC), a non-profit international consortium of 
companies such as IBM, Microsoft and AT&T, has formed this agreement 
to improve confidence in the software and evolving e-commerce 
industries, and prevent piracy.  

But Trevor Cook, head of intellectual property at UK firm Bird & 
Bird, is sceptical about ASPIC’s intentions: "It is the ASP industry 
putting this proposal forward and it will work from its perspective. 
The WIPO must watch out that this is not an industry stitch-up." The 
‘ASP Best Practices and Guidelines for Dispute Avoidance and 
Resolution’ will be available at the end of this year. It will be 
voluntarily adopted by consortium members. "This will be from the ASP 
perspective and will not necessarily accord with that of the users," 
Cook says.  


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