Infojustice Roundup 

Intellectual Property and the Public Interest

Intellectual Property TPP Talks Stall in Melbourne

Contrasting with the apparent progress on other chapters, which were declared “on track” by negotiators, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement’s intellectual property chapter appears to have stalled in Melbourne. According to some sources, the 10 day negotiation yielded no meaningful progress on the intellectual property chapter as the most controversial aspects of the U.S. proposal, including internet service liability and the “May 2007” access to medicines issues, came to the table. The non-U.S. parties in the negotiation appear to have taken a uniform stance against many of the U.S.’s more aggressive positions pressing countries to adopt new rights and enforcement procedures not contained in any existing U.S. trade agreement. Click here for more.

India Issues Compulsory License for Anti-Cancer Medicine

India has granted Natco Pharmaceuticals a compulsory license to produce generic sorafenib tosylate – a drug used to treat kidney and liver cancer that is patented by Bayer and sold under the brand name Nexaver. Under the terms of the license, Natco will sell the generic drug for a price not to exceed Rs. 8880 (USD 178) for a one month supply, and will pay a 6% royalty to Bayer. This is the first compulsory license issued by the Indian government. Click here for more

USTR Kirk Testifies Before Senate Finance Committee

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk testified before the Senate Finance Committee on March 7 about the Obama Administration’s 2012 Trade Agenda.  Notes from the hearing, instructions on submitting comments to the Committee and the full webcast are available here.  Highlights included:

  • Sen. Wyden asked Kirk about the consequences of ACTA.  Would it affect Congress’ ability to write future legislation to enhance competition or to promote innovation on the internet? He further asked about the Obama Administration’s assertion that ACTA does not require Congressional approval.  Click here for more.
  • Sen. Wyden engaged Kirk on the lack of transparency of the TPP negotiations, and suggested that USTR place all U.S.-proposed text relating to internet freedom online.  Click here for the transcript of this exchange.
  • Sen. Menendez asked USTR to propose text on data exclusivity for the Trans Pacific Parternship at the Dallas negotiating round in May.  The text should require 12 years of data exclusivity for biopharmaceuticals. Click here for more.

Finland Delays ACTA Ratification

Finland’s EU ministerial committee has postponed ratification of ACTA until the European Court of Justice completes its review of it. The Helsingin Sanomat reported that the government won’t approve the trade agreement “until the European Union itself is committed to it.”  Last month, the paper reported protests against ACTA in Helsinki. Click here for more.

Rep. Issa Calls ACTA an “Unconstitutional Power Grab”

Last week, Rep. Darrell Issa issued a press release blasting the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.  Issa noted that the agreement was negotiated in secret, may lead to poor consequences for consumers, and “appears to be an unconstitutional power grab begun by the Executive Branch to bypass Congress’ Constitutional authority over international commerce and intellectual property rights protections.”  He cited a letter from Senator Wyden to the President objecting to the Administration’s assertion that ACTA does not need Congressional approval.  Click here for more.