Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
Public Health Groups Launch Global Campaign Against Abbott Labs’ Monopoly on Critical AIDS Medicine
Public health groups in a dozen countries have launched a campaign to challenge Abbott Laboratories’ monopolistic hold on lopinavir+ritonavir, a critical HIV/AIDS medicine. In the US, Vietnam and Indonesia, groups asked their governments to authorize generic competition under rules providing for the government use of patents. In Brazil, lawyers filed formal challenges to Abbott’s patent claims, arguing that the company has not met national standards for patentability and therefore is not entitled to extend its patent monopoly. Colombian health advocates are pursuing a lawsuit for a compulsory license authorizing generic competition, as the government of Ecuador and health advocates in Thailand seek to expand licenses already in effect. Peruvian groups have asked Abbott to abandon new patent applications. Treatment providers in Sint Maarten (Kingdom of the Netherlands) and Malaysia and health groups in China have filed request letters with Abbott seeking licenses to permit generic competition. More than 300 Vietnamese health groups have signed a similar letter to Abbott. In India, (a key producer of generic anti-HIV medicines), civil society groups have successfully warded off Abbott’s efforts to monopolize lopinavir+ritonavir, and are continuing their work to keep these drugs off patent today. Click here for more.
Stopping Online Piracy Act Requires USG to Increase Enforcement Activities Overseas
Section 205 of the Stopping Online Piracy Act requires various executive branch agencies to work with foreign governments to strengthen IP enforcement, and to work in-country with IP owners who feel their rights are not being adequately enforced. Knowledge Ecology International Director James Love points out that SOPA “creates a new bureaucracy to deal with very broadly defined trade related intellectual property rights issues, including those identified in the annual USTR Special 301 report.” He notes that this provision of the legislation covers a scope of IP far broader than online piracy: “The bill defines intellectual property rights as ‘the rights of holders of copyrights, patents, trademarks, other forms of intellectual property, and trade secrets’.” In a post on Techdirt, Mike Masnick calls Section 205 “the creation of the entertainment industry’s own copyright police force within the diplomatic core.” Click here for more.
South Centre Brief on the State of Implementation of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health
The South Centre has released a new policy brief on the state of the implementation of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. It hails the Declaration as a “landmark achievement for clarifying the relationship between IP and public health,” but notes that there have been difficulties implementing the TRIPS flexibilities that it upholds: “Some developing countries are increasingly making use of TRIPS flexibilities for public health purposes, but many still need to adopt the appropriate laws and regulations and to ensure that patent offices act as stewards of the public interest. They also need to more effectively resist demands of TRIPS-Plus obligations in exchange for trade or other concessions.” Click here for more.
Leading North American institutions endorse the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge
Berlin 9 press release: “Thirty-three research institutions, associations, and foundations in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico have made a commitment to Open Access to research by signing the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. These top private, public, and non-profit organizations join nearly 300 more from around the world in another clear sign of the growing demand for change in the way scientific and scholarly research results are communicated and maximized.” The announcement is made in conjunction with the Berlin 9 Open Access Conference, held last week at the Howard Hughes Medical Center in Maryland. Click here for the full press release on Berlin9.org.
Brazilian Court: DJ’s Do Not Have to Pay Royalties
Carol Nogueira and Julianna Granjeia report in Folha.com that a Brazilian court has ruled DJs do not need to pay royalties for samples of songs used in public performances at clubs. Judge Cláudia Longobardi Campana found that the use of samples are transformative, and not mere reproductions of works, and therefore fit the criteria for exceptions to copyright under Section 8, Art 46 of Law 9610. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by ECAD (Escritório Central de Arrecadação e Distribuição – the Central Bureau of Collection and Distribution). Click here for the original story, in Portuguese.
TPP Negotiators Release Joint Report at Honolulu APEC Summit; USTR Releases Outline
Trans Pacific Partnership negotiators released a “Trade Ministers’ Report to Leaders” at the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) that offered little detail about the status of negotiations. Some observers had expected the report to announce a July 2012 deadline for the completion of negotiations, but no deadline was included. Additionally, USTR released an outline of the agreement, with statements about each of the texts to be included. Click here for more.
Events and Deadlines
- Nov 14-18 – Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (WIPO)
- Nov 16 – House Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Stop Online Piracy Act
- Nov 18 – Intellectual Property Rights and the Global Civil Society Reform Project: What’s Next? London School of Economics and Political Science
- Nov 19-20 – Socially Responsible Licensing: Achieving Social Equity through Voluntary Licensing. Hosted by Boston University and Warwick University.
- Nov 21- Dec 2 – Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (WIPO)
- Nov 30- Dec 1 – Advisory Committee on Enforcement (WIPO)