Abstract: In the past few years, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has garnered considerable media, policy and scholarly attention. Rarely analyzed and only occasionally mentioned is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This Agreement is currently being negotiated among Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Launched in November 2012 under the ASEAN 6 framework, the RCEP negotiations build on past trade and non-trade discussions between ASEAN and its six major Asia-Pacific neighbors.
[Cross posted from ARL Policy Notes, Link] Several weeks ago, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hosted a copyright seminar at its Global Intellectual Property Academy for two dozen intellectual property officials primarily from countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. While the first several days involved an “overview” of copyright and mostly time with United States government officials, September 22 was labeled “Industry Day.” The speaker list revealed a very heavy focus on rightholders, in several cases the panels did not have any voices advocating for the importance of consumers and the role of limitations and exceptions in copyright law.
Joint statement by Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo and the ABIA Grupo de Trabalho sobre Propriedade Intelectual
Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, September 15th, 2016 – The United Nation’s High Level Panel (UN HLP) on Access to Medicines released yesterday its final report. The Panel was mandated in November 2015 by UN’s Secretary-General Mr. Ban-Ki Moon to find solutions for the “incoherence” between human rights and public health and rules on intellectual property that hinders innovation and access to medicines. Although the recommendations of the report could have been stronger, it clearly recommends the use of pro public health safeguards to promote the human right to health. The report describes some of the challenges faced by countries to make use of those safeguards, however it fails on addressing the responsibility of pharmaceutical companies.
Paul Keller, Communia, Link (CC-0)
The copyright reform proposal presented today by the European Commission fails to meet the needs of citizens, educators, and researchers across Europe. Instead of strengthening the information economy, the proposal preserves a status quo defined in the analog age. In the process, it hinders education, research and cultural expression.
Letter from 56 Non-profit Organizations and Academic Experts to Secretary Kerry Regarding State Department Pressure Against Access to Medicines Efforts [PDF]
July 20, 2016
Dear Secretary Kerry: We are writing to express our concern about recent statements made by representatives of the State Department on issues regarding intellectual property (IP) and access to medicines in various settings, including proceedings in Colombia, several important United Nations fora, and in India.
This post originally appeared in the Morning Consult. It has been reproduced here with the author’s permission
Prescription drug prices are the number one healthcare concern in America. In 2014, 35 million Americans did not fill a prescription due to cost. According to a survey conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kaiser Foundation, more than half of all Americans who do not take prescription medications because of cost report becoming sicker. This means that potentially 17.5 million Americans become sicker each year because they can’t afford their prescription medication.
[Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons, Link, (CC-BY)] Uruguay is in the process of updating its copyright law, and in April a bill was preliminarily approved in the Senate. The law introduces changes that would benefit students, librarians, researchers, and the general public by legalizing commonplace digital practices, adding orphan works exceptions, and removing criminal penalties for minor copyright infringements. University students were the original proponents of the limitations and exceptions bill.
[Ernesto Falcon, EFF, Link (CC-BY)] The California Assembly Committee on Judiciary recently approved a bill (AB 2880) to grant local and state governments’ copyright authority along with other intellectual property rights. At its core, the bill grants state and local government the authority to create, hold, and exert copyrights, including in materials created by the government. For background, the federal Copyright Act prohibits the federal government from claiming copyright in the materials it creates, but is silent on state governments. As a result, states have taken various approaches to copyright law with some granting themselves vast powers and others (such as California) forgoing virtually all copyright authority, at least until now.
Cross posted from Afro Leo, Link (CC-BY)
Afro-IP regularly reports on how Africa fares in the Special 301 Report issued annually by the USTR (see links to some previous posts below).
The 2016 Report was released at the end of April 2016. The generation of the report through a unilateral US process and its goal have been protested by several countries. For instance, as noted by Mike Palmedo in his post on the 2016 report, both India and Chile have registered their displeasure.
Through the past four Global Congresses we have re-energized a movement, created and shared evidence, and set common agendas for the infusion of public interest objectives into intellectual property policy making. We recommend that the Steering Committee for the Congress strongly consider seeking to host the next Global Congress in Geneva, Switzerland.
Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights: Thirty-First Session December 7-11, 2015 (Geneva, Switzerland)
Thank you for recognizing me on the issue of promoting limitations and exceptions for educational purposes, potentially within the discussions underway on the needs of libraries.
U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Hearing, Dec. 8, 2015
Written Submission from Health GAP (Also available as a PDF)
In its issue analysis paper, the Committee on Ways and Means posed three basic questions about the Trans Pacific Partnership and its impacts on access to medicines: 1) Does the current TPP text provide an appropriate balance between the need to incentivize innovation and to provide access to affordable medicines for patients in developing countries, like the balance struck under the May 10 Agreement of 2007? 2)Does the current TPP text either require changes to existing U.S. health or intellectual property laws, or prevent the United States from making reasonable changes to those laws? 3)What period of exclusivity is provided for biologic medicines, and is the period sufficient to incentivize the production of new biologic medicines in the future while also ensuring access to affordable medicines?
This submission from Health Global Access Project (GAP) discusses each of these issues and includes a chart analyzing relevant textual provisions and their impact on access to medicines.