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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Feb 042015
 

janekelsey2008-200x300US demanded additional legislation on copyright before it would certify Australia’s FTA compliance 

In August 2014 a memorandum and supporting documents published on the website www.tppnocertification.org exposed how the United States uses a process called ‘certification’ to require other countries to implement the US’s interpretation of those other countries’ obligations under their free trade treaties.

Unless those countries’ comply, the US will not exchange the diplomatic notes that are necessary to bring the agreement into force. A number of examples showed how the US has used certification to intervene actively in other countries’ legislative processes in recent years. Continue reading »

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Feb 022015
 

sean - 150x150On Friday, I joined law professors Srividhya Ragavan of University of Oklahoma and Brook Baker of Northeastern University Brook Baker in comments to the Indian government on its recently released “Draft Intellectual Property Policy.” Our overarching comment is that the proposed policy makes a categorical and critical mistake of promoting intellectual property as an end in itself rather than as a means for achieving social and economic progress through enhanced production of and access to the fruits of creativity and innovation. The heart of the comment states: Continue reading »

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Jan 252015
 

healthgap[Joint Letter from 12 American NGOs]  We write as American organizations in advance of your trip to India this month to ask you to support India’s central role in providing high-quality, low-cost generic medicines—which are essential for health care around the world. Recent U.S. policy stances have sought to topple parts of India’s intellectual property regime that protect public health in order to advance the interests of multinational pharmaceutical corporations in longer, stronger, and broader exclusive patent and related monopoly rights. India’s laws fully comply with the WTO TRIPS Agreement. Millions around the world depend on affordable generic medicines that would disappear if India acceded to these proposals, including many beneficiaries of US-funded programs. Instead of using your trip to promote the narrow interests of one segment of the pharmaceutical industry, we ask you to support the interests of people who need affordable medicines, whether they live in the U.S., in India, in Africa or elsewhere. Our world is safer and healthier because of India’s pro-health stance and we ask you to say so publicly while you are there.

Click here for the full letter (PDF).

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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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Nov 052014
 
K.M. Gopakumar

K.M. Gopakumar

[Cross posted from TWN, Link] Several civil society organisations and individuals have expressed earnest concerns over the India-United States Joint Working Group on Intellectual Property.

A collective sign-on letter from more than 50 organisations, networks and individuals to India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi sets out the concerns over the decision to establish the Working Group that was announced in a US-India Joint Statement dated 30 September 2014.  The letter urges the Prime Minister to approach the intellectual property (IP) issue with a “holistic perspective rather the narrow confines of trade and economic policy”. Continue reading »

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Oct 062014
 

BrookBaker[Cross posted from Equilibri.net] U.S. business interests and government officials are trying to sell the idea that heightened intellectual property protections in India are essential to foreign investment, innovation, and achievement of public health goals.

Instead, heightened intellectual property rights will make India consumers captive to Big Pharma’s extortionate pricing….

Unfortunately, the joint communiqué issued at the end of Prime Minister Modi’s US visit shows deference by the US and Indian governments to Big Pharma’s pressure… Continue reading »

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Sep 302014
 

india-flag[September 23, 2014] We, the undersigned organisations and individuals, understand that ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the United States, the government has decided to review India’s positions on intellectual property rights (IPRs). We are concerned about the timing that has been chosen to undertake a Ministry-level exercise on India’s IPR policy and apprehend the proposed exercise could become a hostage to the pressures of the US government and companies. Continue reading »

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Mar 122014
 

ictsd-160px[International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Link] US-India trade ties have continued to worsen in recent weeks, with Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma accusing Washington this week of “high and unacceptable protectionism.” The remarks from New Delhi’s top trade official comes after months fraught with tension, with the two sides openly sparring on topics ranging from renewable energy policies to patent protections. Continue reading »

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Mar 052014
 

sc[South Centre News Service, Link]  The South Centre calls on WTO Members to Respect the Legitimacy of the Use of TRIPS Flexibilities for Public Health in light of new threats of unilateral trade measures by the United States against India over its Intellectual Property Laws and Regulations Continue reading »

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Jan 292014
 
Sen. Orrin Hatch

Sen. Orrin Hatch

This morning, Sen. Orrin Hatch spoke about international intellectual property issues at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  He was the keynote at the organization’s launch of the second edition of its Global Intellectual Property Index.  A video of the event is here, and Sen. Hatch takes the podium at 9:45.

Sen. Hatch argued that American history has shown strong intellectual property (IP) leads to prosperity. Research has shown that increased IP leads all countries to enjoy greater foreign direct investment, technology transfer and innovation. However, the “lesson is lost” in the developing world where countries try to develop through “short cuts” that “undermine” and “steal” U.S. innovation.  India is the biggest battlefront, and Indian compulsory licenses based on nonworking are a big problem. Hatch warned that nothing in India’s patent laws limit compulsory licenses to pharmaceuticals, and he warned that other fields of technology such as cell phones or jets could be subject to compulsory licenses too.  Continue reading »

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Jan 032014
 

ustr-logoLast week, The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) submitted a report to Congress on the state of China’s compliance with WTO rules, including  those on intellectual property (the TRIPS Agreement).  The report states that “China has established a framework of laws, regulations and departmental rules that largely satisfies its WTO commitment.” [p.17]  However, USTR wants China to strengthen laws that exceed the level required by TRIPS, and the report describes its efforts to strengthen the laws, and the enforcement of those laws, especially online.  Continue reading »

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