Apr 162015
 
Photo by C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Photo by C.E. Kent (CC-BY)

Trade Promotion Authority legislation was introduced in the House and Senate today.  The full text is available here.

Trade Promotion Authority lets Congress set trade negotiating objectives for the executive branch, and in return, the legislature agrees that it will not amend any deal reached by trade negotiators.  As Public Citizen notes in its press release, this “circumvent[s] ordinary congressional review, amendment and debate procedures” in order to rush the final acceptance legislation. Continue reading »

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Apr 132015
 
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

Inside U.S. Trade reports that an American trade official, in a closed-door breifing with business representatives, “said TPP countries have closed virtually all text issues except IP,” but that there are also remaining market access issues related to investment, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), environment and government procurement. The story also notes that countries (especially Canada) are reluctant to table final positions on outstanding issues until Trade Promotion Authority legislation advances in the U.S. Congress.  Continue reading »

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Mar 302015
 

gibert2015-coverLast week, the Lisbon Council and Innovation Economics published The 2015 Intellectual Property and Economic Growth Index:  Measuring the Impact of Exceptions and Limitations in Copyright on Growth, Jobs and Prosperity.  The report by Benjamin Gibert examines limitations and exceptions to copyright in eight OECD countries, and then describes economic growth at the overall and industry level in those countries.

The key findings: “countries that employ a broadly ‘flexible’ regime of exceptions in copyright” have higher rates of growth of their overall economy, information technology & service sectors, and even traditional media sectors.  Workers in these economies also fared better, enjoying higher wages overall, in the communications sector, and technology sector. Continue reading »

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Mar 252015
 

unitaid[UNITAID Press Release, Link]   UNITAID is concerned about the expiry of the ‘pharmaceuticals exemption’ for least-developed countries (LDCs) which originates from the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.  Due to this exemption, least developed countries (LDCs) are not obliged to grant or enforce patents and data protection for pharmaceuticals. Continue reading »

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Mar 112015
 

heesobnam[Cross posted from Heesob’s IP Blog, Link] One of the controversies in implementing the KorUS FTA is whether biological products are subject to the patent linkage obligation of the KorUS FTA. The debate was provoked by the Korean government’s proposal which applies the patent linkage to biologics. But it is unclear if the FTA text imposes such an obligation.

Chapter 18 (IPRs) has no definition of pharmaceutical products for the patent linkage, only the provision of patent term extention defining a “new pharmaceutical product” as “a product that at least contains a new chemical entity that has not been previously approved as a pharmaceutical product in the territory of the Party.” See Article 18.8:5 FN21. In contrast, Chapter 5 (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices) makes clear that “pharmaceutical product or medical device means a pharmaceutical, biologic, medical device, or diagnostic product.” Continue reading »

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Feb 232015
 

mexico-flagMexico’s PRI has introduced legislation, dubbed “Ley SOPITA” by some observers, that aims to “stop or prevent, in the digital environment, the commission infringements of intellectual property rights.”  It would give the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property the ability to inspect business, collect data, and make interim orders that aim to stop infringement.

A news story in El Economista quotes the  Red Collective in Defense of Digital Rights R3DMX: “The Parliamentary Group of the PRI in the House of Representatives intends … to empower the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI ) to order censorship of content, and even entire Internet sites, under the pretext of protecting copyright.” [Google-translated quote]

The full El Economista story is available here.

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Feb 232015
 

australia flagAuthors: Deborah H Gleeson, Hazel Moir and Ruth Lopert

Summary:  Intellectual property (IP) protections proposed by the United States for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have sparked widespread alarm about the potential negative impact on access to affordable medicines. The most recently leaked draft of the IP chapter shows some shifts in the US position, presumably in response to ongoing resistance from other countries. While some problematic provisions identified in earlier drafts have been removed or mitigated, major concerns remain unresolved.

Continue reading »

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Feb 132015
 
Map: Australian Dept. For. Affairs & Trade

Map: Australian Dept. For. Affairs & Trade

This week, the 16 Asian and Pacific countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) are meeting in Thailand.  This trade agreement will include Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. According to the RCEP’s Guiding Principles stated at the beginning of the negotiations in 2012, the agreement will include an intellectual property chapter to promote “cooperation in the utilization, protection and enforcement” of IPR.

Japan’s proposed intellectual property text, which was leaked and has been posted online by KEI, includes numerous TRIPS Plus provisions.  (South Korea is reported to be advocating for TRIPS-Plus provisions too.) Many of the provisions would be especially harmful to the Indian generic industry, which supplies the majority of medicines used by people in developing countries. Continue reading »

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Feb 102015
 

medecindumonde[Médecins du Monde press release, Link]  Today, Doctors of the World – Médecins du Monde (MDM) has filed a European patent challenge against the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug, sofosbuvir. In recent months, Médecins du Monde and its partners have raised the alarm around the problems caused by the cost of new treatments against hepatitis C and of sofosbuvir [2] in particular. The U.S.-based pharmaceutical company Gilead holds a monopoly for sofosbuvir and is marketing a 12-week course treatment at extremely high prices – 41 000 euros in France and 44 000 euros in the United Kingdom – thereby hindering access to the drug for People Living with HCV. Continue reading »

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Feb 052015
 

budgetLast week the Obama Administration released its Budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes a number of policy proposals designed to save money for both the government and taxpayers. Its proposal to shorten the monopolies granted to brand name biologic drugs – and thereby hasten generic competition – would directly clash with the provisions the Administration seeks in the Trans Pacific Partnership. Continue reading »

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Feb 042015
 

hatch-schumerLast week the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the Obama Administration’s trade policy, in which U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman was the sole witness.

Prepared statements from Chairman Orin Hatch, Ranking Minority Leader Wyden, and Ambassador Froman, and video of the full hearing are here. Actually, most of the hearing is on the video, but the committee edited out the protestors who disrupted the hearing. Democracy Now has the video and transcript of the protest here.

During Q&A, many of the Senators brought up enforcement of trade agreements as a very important area for USTR to focus its energies.   Two Senators, in particular, indicated they wanted the U.S. to be been more active in trade disputes over intellectual property, through either FTA frameworks or bilateral measures: Continue reading »

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Jan 052015
 

ITC[Updated Jan 5]  The U.S. International Trade Commission has released its report on Indian trade, investment and industrial policies, including but not limited to intellectual property rights.  The full report is here and the the press release is here.

The report was based on “a survey of U.S. companies doing business in India; a quantitative analysis of the effects on the U.S. economy; and qualitative research, including a hearing and fieldwork, to produce case studies and examples that help illustrate effects of the policies on particular companies or industries.”  Continue reading »

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