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Litigation News

Litigation news from around the web

LJN - Intellectual Property Strategist The newsletter publishing arm of ALM, publishers of The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer and legal newspapers of record throughout the U.S.

  • Patenting Diagnostic Tests: Can We Expect Changes?
    on January 1, 2020 at 7:24 am

    This article discusses the jurisprudence applied to determining patent eligibility of claims for diagnostic methods, and the expectation for changes in analysis of patent eligibility under §101 in the near future.       

  • Safeguarding Your Intellectual Property
    on January 1, 2020 at 7:12 am

    Documents are the lifeblood of any law firm. The documents that a firm produces are its greatest asset, especially the intellectual property — trade secrets, patent information, etc. — contained in those documents, yet firms historically have not made sufficient efforts to safeguard those documents from both internal and external threats.       

  • When Are Short Phrases in Songs Protectable?
    on January 1, 2020 at 6:43 am

    It's a common fact pattern: A songwriter alleges that another songwriter has infringed the lyrics of Song A by using a similar short phrase, frequently a current slang phrase, in the lyrics of Song B. Claims like this do not often succeed because "words and short phrases such as names, titles, and slogans" are "not subject to copyright."       

  • IP News
    on January 1, 2020 at 6:35 am

    Federal Circuit Holds PTAB Judges Unconstitutional, Constructs a Fix—But Not All Judges Agree on What Happens Next       

  • The California Consumer Privacy Act: Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask
    on December 1, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Part Two of a Two-Part Article       

Planet Depos We Make It Happen

  • How Court Reporters and Their Team Can Work Better Together
    by Darlene Williams on January 15, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Are you feeling like there are not enough hours in the day to get transcript pages produced?  Is your inbox full of requests to move this transcript ahead of that one because someone just realized they have a hearing coming up?  Are you simply fatigued from being overworked because there’s more work than reporters?  Here The post How Court Reporters and Their Team Can Work Better Together appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • How To Take A Deposition in Honduras
    by Planet Depos on January 2, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Special care, and extra time, should be afforded when planning a deposition in Honduras. This article offers practical advice and insider tips. The post How To Take A Deposition in Honduras appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • International Depositions and the Videoconference Benefit
    by Suzanne Quinson on December 18, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Coordinating international depositions can often include steps which are both pricey and tedious. You could save time and money with a videoconference. The post International Depositions and the Videoconference Benefit appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • Colombia to the Rescue! Deposing Witnesses in South America (Updated)
    by Suzanne Quinson on November 26, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Three giants in South America don't permit the taking of depositions within their borders. What are you to do if you need to depose a witness? Try Colombia. The post Colombia to the Rescue! Deposing Witnesses in South America (Updated) appeared first on Planet Depos.

  • At A Glance: Taking Depositions in Europe
    by Suzanne Quinson on November 20, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    The advantages of taking a deposition in Europe are numerous, from landmarks to food, but attorneys planning European depositions will discover a few extra steps when scheduling. The post At A Glance: Taking Depositions in Europe appeared first on Planet Depos.

Director's Forum: A Blog from USPTO's Leadership Updates from America’s innovation agency

  • Reflections of John Cabeca, USPTO Silicon Valley Regional Director
    by USPTO on December 12, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter Deputy Director Laura Peter speaks with Silicon Valley Regional Director John Cabeca. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) Recently, I spoke with John Cabeca, USPTO Silicon Valley Regional Director in San Jose, California, about his experience at the USPTO and what’s next for him. John is a 30-plus-year veteran of the USPTO. He served in numerous key leadership roles throughout his tenure and has dedicated much of his career to working with significant customers of the USPTO on IP matters and through outreach and education programs to help small and large businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. Over the years, he served the USPTO in important roles, including in the Office of Patent Legal Administration, the Office of Governmental Affairs, and most recently in the Office of the Under Secretary.  LP: How long has the USPTO had a Silicon Valley Regional Office (SV USPTO) and what is its purpose? JC: The Silicon Valley office formally opened in October 2015 in the San Jose, California City Hall building. The purpose of the USPTO Silicon Valley Regional Office, and, in fact, all of our regional offices, including Detroit, Denver, and Dallas — is to foster and protect innovation. The regional offices carry out the strategic direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and are responsible for leading the USPTO's regional efforts in their designated regions of the United States. As Regional Director, I actively engage the western region’s unique network of industries and entrepreneurs, and tailor the USPTO’s initiatives and programs to their needs. The regional office serves as a hub of outreach and education and offers services and programs readily accessible to inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses. We also work closely with IP practitioners, community and business leaders, and academic institutions, as well as with federal, state and local governments, to advance the IP needs of the innovation ecosystem throughout the region at all levels. LP: What states does the SV USPTO cover? JC: The west coast region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington State. Comprising seven states, this is the largest region covering over 1.1 million square miles, as well as some of the most innovative businesses and innovators in the country. In 2019, the west coast region originated more than 37% of all domestic patent applications and 28% of all trademark registrations by U.S. registrants. LP: How does the public at-large including inventors, entrepreneurs, and brand owners benefit from the SV USPTO? JC: We are here to help them. We hold events from learning the basics about patents and trademarks, to patent and trademark search workshops, to drafting patent claims, to protecting your IP abroad, to even more advanced IP programs as a CLE provider in the State of California. We welcome walk-ins to our office, will come and speak and educate the public any chance we get about IP, and also have the ability to hold virtual examiner interviews and trial and appeal board hearings in our space. The regional office pages of the USPTO website are constantly updated with new opportunities to visit our offices. LP: What makes serving the Silicon Valley region different than the rest of the country? JC: As you probably know, there is a huge amount of innovation and entrepreneurship in this region, not only in Silicon Valley, the rest of California, but all across the western region. Like many communities across the country, the western region has a lot of innovation activity. We strive to provide assistance to all types of innovators, from the small inventor, to the new startup, to the more established tech company. Each one is unique and has different needs. But, we work hard to make sure they have the information and resources they need to incorporate IP into their business strategy and to help navigate any hurdles they may face in the process. It has truly been a rewarding experience serving as the regional director for this critically important region to the U.S. economy.  LP: What does an average week on the job entail? What traits make a regional officer director successful? JC: Every day is different and exciting. I could be meeting with entrepreneurs, seeing the latest technologies, doing a STEM activity with kids, or giving a keynote on IP policy.  In essence, the USPTO regional director serves as an emissary for the USPTO in the region and as a conduit for policy recommendations. Often, we meet with stakeholders from some of the most innovative companies in the world and help address their needs and priorities. I also travel quite a bit to all the states in the region, to make sure I understand stakeholder’s needs and concerns. I’m also fortunate to work alongside a talented, dedicated and hard-working team at the USPTO Silicon Valley Regional Office, that enable us to stay on top of everything! I’d say some important traits for a USPTO regional office director are in-depth knowledge of intellectual property, good listening skills, adaptability, the ability to think outside the box, as well as being a relentless advocate for our IP stakeholders. LP: Can you share some of your accomplishments that you are most proud of during your time as a regional director of the SV office? JC: Looking back over the past six years, it’s been amazing to be at the forefront of new technologies and see how rapidly they are being developed, including artificial intelligence, driverless cars, 5G, and more. To be able to see these firsthand and help those innovators get those products protected and to market has been really fulfilling. Every day is different, and it energized me to know that every day I was going to learn something. In addition, I’m proud to have led the design, build-out and opening of the USPTO Silicon Valley office facilities. We built an educational component throughout our space, and the office has become a destination for a wide range of visitors, including many international IP delegations coming to meet with us. Our staff works tirelessly to provide resources to the public, reviews applications thoroughly and quickly, and increases the understanding of IP rights. As for the Silicon Valley team, they have been an absolute treasure to work with. I am so very proud of the culture we created together, and honored to work alongside the amazing, talented, hard-working workforce of over 100 employees working out of the USPTO Silicon Valley office and to get to know many of the nearly 500 USPTO employees working from their homes across the region. LP: What’s next for you? JC: In early 2020, I will be transitioning into a diplomatic post as the IP attaché for South Asia. I will be based out of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India and will serve U.S. industries doing business in South Asia and advocate for effective IP policies to support a strong and vibrant IP system globally.  I will remain in service to the USPTO and the IP community. I’m so excited to build from the great relationships and tremendous experiences here in the western region and look forward to serving U.S. industries in my new capacity.  The USPTO is currently looking to hire a new regional office director to lead and manage the Silicon Valley Regional Office in San Jose, California. This person will be an innovation ambassador in the region, provide stakeholder outreach and education to the public on the importance of IP, and support the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem for the entire Western Region, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Apply by January 6, 2020.

  • USPTO recognizes Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners and inventors
    by USPTO on December 10, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu Nobel Prize winner John Goodenough with his inventor collectible card presented to him by the USPTO in 2018. December 10 is Nobel Prize Day, the day on which Nobel Prize laureates are awarded their medals by the Royal Swedish Academy in Stockholm, Sweden. On behalf of the USPTO, I congratulate this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino. These inventors have made valuable contributions in the field of electro-chemistry, leading to the development of lithium-ion batteries. This year’s Nobel Prize winners are truly among the most deserving giants of the scientific and inventive worlds. Their journeys of innovation inspire and awe us. By unlocking some of the fundamental mysteries of electro-chemistry over the past decades, they have transformed and improved our world by empowering us as well as many of the things we rely on every day, including our smartphones, pacemakers, and even orbital satellites. As the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences stated in its press release for this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the invention of lithium-ion batteries has created the conditions for a “wireless and fossil fuel-free society” and thus provided a significant benefit to humankind. And we look forward to even more innovations in the future that build on the foundations that Goodenough, Whittingham, and Yoshino have laid. The 2019 Nobel Prize recipients hold prominent academic and corporate positions. Goodenough is the Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. To commemorate his extraordinary career, the USPTO honored him with an inventor collectible card in 2018. Whittingham is a distinguished professor at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. Yoshino is a fellow of the Ashahi Kasei Corporation and a professor at Meijo University in Nagoya, Japan. Each of the three winners are also accomplished inventors and owners of U.S. and international patents. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which awards the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, cited U.S. patent nos. 4,357,215 (fast ion conductors) and 4,668,595 (secondary battery) in the Scientific Background on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019. Goodenough was the primary inventor on the former patent, and Yoshino on the latter. In total, Goodenough is listed as an inventor on 27 U.S. patents, Whittingham on 17 U.S. patents, and Yoshino on 83 U.S. patents. The USPTO celebrates the accomplishments of these three remarkable inventors, as well as all inventors who, thorough their creativity and persistence, make the world a better place.

  • New report on underrepresented groups in patenting
    by USPTO on November 25, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    Blog by Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO Andrei Iancu  Undergraduate students from Johns Hopkins University, and Finalists in the Collegiate Inventors Competition, work on their award winning invention, PeritoneX, a mechanism that disinfects at-home peritoneal dialysis systems to prevent infection. (Photo courtesy of PeritoneX) America’s long-standing economic prosperity and global technological leadership depend on a strong and vibrant innovation ecosystem. To maximize the nation’s potential, it’s more important than ever that all Americans who are willing to work hard, persevere and take risks have the opportunity to innovate, to start new companies, to succeed in established companies, and ultimately, to achieve the American dream. To maintain our technological leadership, the United States must seek to broaden our innovation, entrepreneurship and intellectual property ecosystems demographically, geographically, and economically. The USPTO is at the forefront of this effort. The Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success Act of 2018, also known as the “SUCCESS Act,” directed the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in consultation with the Small Business Administration, to identify publicly available data on the number of patents annually applied for and obtained by women, minorities, and veterans, and the benefits of increasing these numbers. The Act also asked for legislative recommendations on how to encourage and increase the participation by these groups as inventor-patentees and entrepreneurs. On October 31, we released our SUCCESS Act report. As detailed in our report, after reviewing literature and data sources, we found that there is a limited amount of publicly available information regarding the participation rates of women, minorities, and veterans in the patent system. One of the most comprehensive studies on women inventors was published by the USPTO earlier this year, “Progress and Potential: a profile of women inventors on U.S. patents,” which found that only about 12% of inventors named on U.S. patents are women. As an agency, we have undertaken a proactive approach to encourage women, minorities, and veterans to innovate and secure patents to protect their innovations. We provide guidance and assistance to inventors, host annual events such as the annual Invention-Con and Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, support pro bono networks around the country, offer pro se assistance to make navigating the patent process more accessible, especially to first-time applicants, and have free legal services through 60 participating law school clinics. Plus, our four regional offices serve inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses throughout the country, and our Patent and Trademark Resource Centers are located in more than 80 public, state, and academic libraries—many in minority and underserved communities. These centers offer regular programming, virtual office hours with USPTO subject matter experts, and librarians trained to assist with intellectual property research. In our SUCCESS Act report, we identified ways to build on existing USPTO programs by undertaking even more initiatives, some of which include: • Council for innovation inclusiveness: The USPTO plans to establish a council to develop a national strategy for promoting and increasing the participation of underrepresented groups as inventor-patentees, entrepreneurs, and innovation leaders.• Workforce development: The USPTO will work with other government agencies to help develop workforce training materials that include information on how to obtain a patent, and the importance of invention and IP protections. • Increased development of IP training for educators: The USPTO will work with other federal agencies to develop training materials to help elementary, middle, and high school teachers incorporate the concepts of invention and IP creation and protection into classroom instruction. Our report also includes a number of legislative recommendations for Congress, such as: • Enhance USPTO authority to gather information: Congress could authorize a streamlined mechanism for the USPTO to undertake a voluntary, confidential, biennial survey of individuals named in patent applications that have been filed with the USPTO.• Expand the purposes/scopes of relevant federal grant programs: Congress could expand the authorized uses of grants and funds in appropriate federal programs to include activities that promote invention and entrepreneurship, as well as the protection of inventions and innovations using intellectual property among underrepresented groups.• Support exhibits at national museums featuring inventors/entrepreneurs: Congress could encourage national museums to feature exhibits that highlight the contributions to U.S. invention and entrepreneurship by individuals from underrepresented groups. In addition, the USPTO plays a critical role to equip tomorrow’s inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs with the skills they need to succeed. That is why we support dozens of STEM-related programs and events that provide basic education about intellectual property to young men and women. These include the Girl Scout IP patch, which is available to Girl Scout troops across the nation; programs in partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, such as Camp Invention, which is offered in school districts in every state, and the Collegiate Inventors Competition, which takes place each year at the USPTO; the National Summer Teacher Institute, which incorporates invention and IP into classrooms; collaborations with historically black colleges and universities; and so much more. Broadening the innovation ecosphere to include more women, minorities, and veterans is critical to inspiring novel inventions, driving economic growth, and maintaining America’s global competitiveness. We will continue to work with our stakeholders, other government agencies, Congress, and the public to maximize the potential for all individuals—regardless of background or status—to invent, protect their inventions, and succeed.

  • Collegiate Inventors Competition winners announced
    by USPTO on November 6, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    Blog by Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter Deputy Director of the USPTO Laura Peter meets University of Tennessee graduate student and CIC finalist Lia Winter, inventor of the EasyWhip™ double-loop stitching apparatus, which gives surgeons more control over the process of stitching grafts. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson The future of American innovation was on display October 30 at the 2019 Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC) held at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, VA. Cutting-edge inventions created by the nation’s brightest young innovators from colleges and universities across the country—from improvements in surgical tools to alternative energy solutions—were showcased at the competition’s public expo, providing the students a forum to answer questions and discuss their inventions with USPTO patent examiners, patent attorneys, trademark examiners and senior officials; corporate sponsors; members of the intellectual property community; and the public. During the competition, the 23 undergraduate and graduate students from 10 teams had the opportunity to interact one-on-one with inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). These legendary innovators – who have invented many tools, processes, or devices that are now commonplace in our lives (optical fiber, implantable defibrillator, Post-it® Notes, digital camera) — served as judges for the competition, and provided advice and inspiration for the students. USPTO patent examiners also served as judges. “The ideas represented in this room – and the bright minds behind them – are the future of American innovation… You have started blazing your trail. As you continue your path changing our world as entrepreneurs, business owners, and patent holders, we will eagerly watch your progress.” -Deputy Director Laura Peter, addressing CIC finalists and winners at the evening awards ceremony The winner in the undergraduate category was Ethan Brush from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. His invention, PE-IVT (Positively Engaged, Infinitely Variable Transmission Using Split Helical Gears), is a new type of transmission for electric vehicles which increases efficiency and reduces energy losses. The graduate winner was a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, comprised of Maher Damak and Karim Khalil. Their invention, Infinite Cooling, can ionize and collect water from power plant cooling towers, so it may be reused as industrial and drinking water. The undergraduate runner-up, and the Arrow Electronics People’s Choice Award winner, was a team from Johns Hopkins University for their invention PeritoneX, a mechanism to disinfect at-home peritoneal dialysis systems to prevent infection.  The graduate runner-up was a team from University of Washington for their invention, Nanodropper, a universal adapter for eyedrop medication bottles. The top undergraduate and graduate winning teams each received $15,000, and the runner-up winning teams each received $5,000. Read more about all the 2019 CIC finalists and winners. Thanks to this competition, the skills that these students gained through the process of invention and by learning about intellectual property will be assets to them as they continue with their research or commercialize their inventions. The Collegiate Inventors Competition is one of several important programs that the USPTO, with its partner NIHF, sponsors for young inventors. NIHF’s education programs impact over 165,000 children and 20,000 educators annually — promoting a better understanding of the vital role intellectual property and innovation play in our lives and our economy, and helping to build entrepreneurial skills for the next generation of inventors.

  • Spotlight on Commerce: Megan Miller, Plain Language Writer/Editor
    by USPTO on November 5, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    A post about the USPTO from the Department of Commerce. Megan Miller, Plain Language Writer/Editor, USPTO. (Photo by Jay Premack/USPTO) After earning my engineering degree and serving in the Navy for seven years, the next logical step in my career was to take a position as a writer-editor. Sounds disjointed? It's a more natural progression than you might think. Growing up, I loved math and science. Math homework was my favorite! It was so satisfying to start with a few numbers and a question, then figure out what to do with those numbers to find the answer. In science classes, I asked enough questions to try the patience of both my teachers and fellow students. Predictably, I went to college to be an engineer. I studied biomedical engineering at the University of Rochester. It was fascinating to learn about how the human body works and how the biomedical field uses technology to make it work better. I couldn't wait to graduate and use my skills to build things that would solve real-world problems. As graduation grew closer, though, I decided I wanted to explore the world of engineering from a different perspective. So, I joined the Navy to study and work in nuclear propulsion. In my training, I learned how the Navy harnesses fission to move ships. It was staggering to learn about a system that starts with a few neutrons zooming around and ends with an aircraft carrier zooming through the ocean. Again, I was awestruck at how engineering gives us systems that are cohesive, despite their complexity, to elegantly solve the world's problems. During my time in the Navy, in addition to studying nuclear power, I was also a division officer. That meant that I bridged the gap between the command's leadership and the sailors in my division. Despite being on the same ship, those two groups had dramatically different needs and perspectives. Leadership focused on accomplishing the ship's mission and keeping the ship and crew safe. My sailors, on the other hand, were concerned about maintaining and operating a complicated weapon system. When those priorities were at odds, fulfilling my role as a liaison could be quite challenging. I quickly learned that in any form of communication, it's vitally important to start by understanding the needs and perspectives of the other person. The only way to reach them is to shape your message with those needs in mind. Ignore those needs, and you'll fail. For me, a few big failures helped me learn the lesson. Seven years of smaller failures helped me hone the skill, which is fundamental to effective communication. These experiences laid the groundwork for my career as a writer-editor at the USPTO. My focus in writing and editing is plain language. That doesn't mean that I dumb things down or that I make every piece of content understandable to the general public. It means that I write and edit so my audience can easily find, understand, and use the information they need. It's all about audience; understanding their needs is the cornerstone of writing in plain language. For me, writing in plain language requires employing the communication skills I developed and refined in the Navy. So, my plain language savvy is a direct result of my service. Even if you have a clear understanding of your audience, though, writing clearly can still be quite challenging. There are many obstacles to overcome. Sometimes, you're writing to multiple audiences who have vastly different needs. Sometimes, your organization's needs conflict with your audience's needs. Legal topics add another layer of obstacles. Sometimes, when you explain legal concept in the most straightforward way, you get a statement that's only true 99% of the time, making it legally inaccurate. Communicating clearly despite these roadblocks can be difficult, but it's possible. My job is to do just that, and it's my favorite part of writing and editing. Thinking outside the box to find ways to communicate clearly within these constraints is, dare I say, fun. I never expected words to be my medium for solving problems as an adult, but it's just as satisfying as the problem sets I loved as a kid.  My job is to serve Americans by making the information they need more accessible, using words to solve problems along the way. Though I thought I'd grow up to be a distinguished scientist or brilliant inventor, now I know that it's just as fulfilling to be a word engineer. Ed. note: This post is part of the Spotlight on Commerce series highlighting the contributions of Department of Commerce military veterans in honor of Veterans Day.

Above the Law A Legal Web Site – News, Insights, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law School, Law Suits, Judges and Courts

LJN - Internet Law & Strategy The newsletter publishing arm of ALM, publishers of The National Law Journal, The American Lawyer and legal newspapers of record throughout the U.S.

  • Digital Dive: New Report Reveals Opportunities for Improvement on Digital Marketing Strategy for Law Firms
    on December 1, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    For those of us who have devoted more years in legal marketing than we'd care to admit, it's heartening to see the field receiving the recognition it deserves. The demand for top talent has never been higher and marketing plans are getting more attention from firm management. Still, there is more work for law firms to do. That's particularly true in digital marketing.       

  • IP News
    on December 1, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Booking.com Trademark Case       

  • Exploring the Nebulous Boundaries of Trade Dress
    on October 1, 2019 at 7:17 am

    Now that we are in the digital age, questions have been raised about the trade dress of websites and apps.       

  • Legal Tech: Demystifying Social Media Discovery
    on October 1, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Social Media Escapes an Easy Definition, But You Know It When You See It While it would be helpful to understand the technical details of collecting data from various social media platforms, what's more important is what parts of social media might be relevant to a dispute and what that means for both the requesting and producing parties.       

  • EU E-Commerce Proposal Aims to Eliminate Barriers; Calls for E-Signatures and Net Neutrality
    on June 1, 2019 at 5:11 am

    The European Union has put forth an ambitious proposal for how countries can eliminate barriers to e-commerce and protect businesses and consumers engaged in online transactions. But parts of the proposal, published as part of a World Trade Organization initiative that includes the U.S. and China, are likely to face opposition.