[Catherine Saez, IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] World Trade Organization committee members this week were asked to recommend to the upcoming ministerial conference whether to lift or indefinitely prolong a moratorium shielding intellectual property from complaints between members not involving a breach of a WTO agreement. Short of a consensus, the intellectual property committee will have to reconvene next month to try to find agreement. Separately, a two-year extension was granted to countries not yet having ratified the public health amendment to WTO IP rules.
Burcu Kilic and Renata Avila. Cross posted from Open Democracy, Link (CC-BY-NC)
As we enter the uncertain Trump era with respect to trade policies, one can only guess that big trade players will come back to the multilateral fora, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), as a reliable vehicle to foster their global trade agenda, especially as the free trade agreement (FTA) model fell apart after President Trump took office. Since the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) are on hold, a return to the multilateral WTO offers the best chance of progress on e-commerce rules.
Abstract: In 2000, my colleague Yousuf Vawda and I became active in the global campaign to address intellectual property rights (IPRs), human rights, and barriers to access to affordable medicines for treating HIV and AIDS in South Africa. This paper details their academic collaboration, their activist-oriented “clinical” offering, and the vibrant campaign that it helped to spawn. It also situates the Fix the Patent Laws Campaign (the “Campaign”) within the global framework of pro-Pharma legal rules and diplomatic pressures, showing the connections between the global political economy and local reform efforts grounded in the right to health enshrined in the South African Constitution.
Excerpt from Executive Summary: This is the first-ever global report on treatment access to hepatitis C medicines. The report provides the information that countries and health authorities need to identify the appropriate HCV treatment, and procure it at affordable prices. The report uses the experience of several pioneering countries to demonstrate how barriers to treatment access can be overcome. It also provides information on the production of new hepatitis C drugs and generic versions worldwide, including where the drugs are registered, where the drugs are patented and where not, and what opportunities countries have under the license agreements that were signed by some companies as well as current pricing of all recommended DAAs, including by generic companies all over the world.
The following is an excerpt from the introduction to Private Patents and Public Health, by Ellen ‘t Hoen. The full book is available online under a Creative Commons License here.
Millions of people around the world do not have access to the medicines they need to treat disease or alleviate suffering. Strict patent regimes interfere with widespread access to medicines by creating monopolies that maintain medicines prices well beyond the reach of those who need them.
The magnitude of the AIDS crisis in the late nineties brought this to the public’s attention when millions of people in developing countries died from an illness for which medicines existed, but were not available or affordable. Faced with an unprecedented health crisis—8,000 people dying daily—the public health community launched an unprecedented global effort that eventually resulted in the large-scale availability of quality generic HIV medicines and a steady scale-up in access to those medicines. This has allowed nearly 13 million people to lead longer, healthier lives. However, trends in international intellectual property law could impact many of the policy tools used to scale up HIV treatment.
Abstract: In recent years, intellectual property enforcement by ordering Internet access providers to block infringing websites has been rapidly evolving in Europe. Understandable from the perspective of rightholders searching for the most efficient ways to stop infringing activities, this increasing tendency to seek for website blocking raises several interrelated legal questions. Those range from the extent to which new enforcement models should burden the freedom to conduct a business of intermediaries to how this practice affects the ability of Internet users to access information of their choice and exercise their freedom of expression in the online environment. Interestingly, the requests for blocking injunctions have also provoked counter-reactions, initiating a “breakthrough” in the European judiciary because of the recognition of user rights as enforceable rights of equal value to those of rightholders.
Excerpt from the Final Report of the Global commission on Internet Governance, Link (CC-BY-NC-ND)
… Content intermediaries are evolving institutions. As a result, government policy makers are struggling to understand these new roles and to determine whether and how to legislate or regulate new behaviours in this nascent and fast-changing industry. The situation is further complicated by the transnational reach of these intermediaries. The concept of Internet intermediary liability has emerged as a way to regulate or require the takedown of harmful or illegal content. Intermediary liability can be applied in a variety of contexts, including: copyright infringements, digital piracy, trademark disputes, network management, spamming and phishing, cybercrime, defamation, hate speech, child pornography, censorship or privacy protection.
High price of newer, improved medicines: While the price of many antiretroviral medicines has decreased significantly over the past 15 years, trade and intellectual property rights barriers inhibit affordable access to newer, more effective medicines. Side effects of many antiretroviral medicines can be a hindrance in adhering to treatment and starting treatment early may exacerbate this challenge. Combination regimens containing the least toxic and most effective medicines are unavailable in many countries due to their higher cost. This problem is especially acute in middle-income countries, which are excluded from voluntary licenses and price discounts. Overcoming patent and other IP monopolies and driving down the cost of medicines through robust generic competition is urgently needed.
[Cross posted from the Communia Assoc., Link (CC-0)] How to secure user rights in education? This was the question we asked during a policy debate organised by Communia and hosted by MEP Michał Boni in the European Parliament on the 17th of November. Panelists, politicians and stakeholders participating in this debate discussed two approaches: the creation and use of Open Educational Resources (OER), and a progressive copyright reform for education. While these issues are usually presented separately, as Communia we see them as two aspects of a single effort to ensure user rights in education.
Chile is about to become the first country to successfully kill creative commons and other open licensing for audiovisual works with a copyright bill that has been already approved in the House of Representatives in an unprecedented fast speed. It is now in the Senate. This dream bill for collective societies of rightholders is the Bill for Copyright for Audiovisual Authors.
Here is a link to the bill and the legislative discussions. Here is how it works against open licensing:
American University Washington College of Law’s Program and Information Justice and Intellectual Property and the American University International Law Review (“AUILR”) seek submissions for a AUILR Focus Issue on International and Comparative User Rights in the Digital Economy. A symposium for the issue will be held on March 18, 2016. Scholarships are available for accepted authors.
This post contains a brief summary of, and excerpt from, a report published by the Third World Network. Click here for the full report. (eds.)
This document summarises some of the ways in which the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) can harm human rights. The analysis below only examines the impact on recommendations and comments by United Nations (UN) Special Procedures mandate-holders and other United Nations human rights bodies,a so there are other human rights which are likely to be adversely affected by the TPP which are not covered here.