[Catherine Saez for IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] As the ratification by the European Union of an international treaty creating an exception to copyright for visually impaired people nears, a leaked text shows that the directive implementing the treaty in the EU might come with safeguards limiting the scope of the treaty, allegedly pushed by the publishing industry.
IP provisions in FTAs may have implications on a wide range of public policy areas. A vast academic literature has addressed the “flexibilities” available under the TRIPS Agreement and the negative impact of FTAs in relation to access to medicines.
[Reposted from blog.ffii.org] The following is an excerpt from the full working paper Multilateral Investment Court Assessment Obscures Social and Environmental Impacts, available here.
Copyright does not work well in the digital world; the patent system is inefficient. Our societies could benefit from reform. 33 The WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and other international agreements limit possibilities for reform. Expansive interpretation of international treaties would further limit our policy space.
[Reposted from the Third World Network, Link] The forthcoming 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) will discuss access to medicines including the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel Report on Access to Medicines (UNHLP report).
The inclusion of this agenda item has been a topic for debate and the 140th meeting of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) finally agreed to accordingly amend an existing agenda item on shortage of medicines of the 70th WHA that will convene in May this year.
[Joint press release from six civil society groups, Link] The six candidates for Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) – of whom one will be elected this May – have published responses to an open letter asking them to make clear their plans for the future of the WHO’s work in promoting a new system of equitable drug R&D. The original open letter was signed by 18 civil society organizations, and titled “Will you support a patient-centred R&D agreement?“. The WHO Executive Board convenes today to begin 9 days of meetings during which the candidates will be interviewed, and up to 3 of the 6 shortlisted for a final vote in May 2017.
The candidates recognised that urgent problems exist in the current system of drug R&D. Dr Douste-Blazy (France) wrote that “past failures to invest in research and development are killing millions today”. Dr Nishtar (Pakistan) recognised “the failure of market mechanisms to incentivise innovation” and asserted that the “WHO already has a strong mandate for action”. Dr Bustreo (Italy) noted that “high prices of health technologies and lagging innovation […] impede people’s access to quality health care”.
[Joint Statement] On Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th January, representatives of European governments will discuss draft legislation to implement the Marrakesh Treaty in the European Union (EU).
As IFLA and partner organisations have underlined, this is an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of people with print disabilities – who cannot pick up and read a book in the same way as everyone else – both in Europe and beyond.
We are, however, aware of efforts to undermine the impact of Marrakesh. This will happen if national governments can oblige libraries and others to pay fees to publishers for making use of their Marrakesh rights, or if they are subject to additional, unnecessary, registration or record-keeping requirements. Both IFLA and EIFL have highlighted the risks of such moves.
[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] EIFL joined a 13-strong team representing the world’s libraries, archives and museums advocating for an international treaty for fair access to knowledge at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR/33), which met in Geneva from 14-18 November 2016.
EIFL was represented at SCCR/33 by Copyright and Libraries Programme Manager, Teresa Hackett, and Pratyush Nath Upreti of Upreti & Associates in Nepal. In this blog, Teresa Hackett presents a round-up of the busy week at WIPO:
[Electronic information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)] EIFL has compiled a booklet of statements made by librarians and archivists representing thousands of institutions at sessions of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR).
Titled ‘The internet is global – but copyright exceptions stop at the border. Why we need an international treaty for cross-border access to knowledge’, the booklet includes statements by library and archive organizations made at WIPO SCCR sessions in April 2014, June 2014 and May 2016. WIPO is the main body that sets international copyright law.
[Third World Network, Link] The World Health Organization (WHO) Member State Mechanism (MSM) on substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled /falsified/counterfeit medical products (SSFFC) has agreed to recommend to the World Health Assembly (WHA) to drop the term “counterfeit” to refer to quality-compromised medical products. This decision was taken by the MSM in the context of refining the SSFFC definitions utilized by WHO, during its fifth meeting here on 23-25 November.
This historic agreement follows years of often-intense dispute among WHO member states as to the appropriate terminologies that should be utilized to refer to unsafe medical products circulated by unscrupulous actors.
Last week, the government of Antigua and Barbuda announced to the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) that it will move forward with the “suspension of copyright on the sale of U.S. intellectual property” by the end of the year if the U.S. does not comply with the DSB’s findings in the long-running dispute regarding online gambling.
Twelve years ago, the DSB found that the United States violates the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services by discriminating against foreign providers of online gambling services. It found that various federal and state level laws forbade Antiguan firms from offering online gambling services comparable to services offered by domestic firms. The DSB ordered the United States to pay $21 million in annual compensation to Antigua and Barbuda until its laws were brought into compliance with GATS. Furthermore, it permitted cross-sector retaliation by Antigua and Barbuda in the event that the United States did not comply with the DSB’s findings.
[United Nations press release, Link] Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on the report of the High-level Panel on Access to Medicines — “Promoting Innovation and Access to Health Technologies”, in New York today:
Despite great scientific progress, all countries, from the poorest to the most prosperous, are facing challenges related to the costs of many medicines, diagnostics, medical devices and vaccines. Since rising costs of health technologies can push people into poverty, we have a shared duty to find solutions to ensure access to these technologies for all.
Abstract: The 2016-2017 biennium marks the historical milestones of several major pro-development initiatives relating to intellectual property law and policy. These important milestones include the Intellectual Property Conference of Stockholm in 1967, the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development (UNDRD) in 1986 and the establishment of the WIPO Development Agenda in 2007.
On January 1, 2016, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also came into force. Adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development featured 17 SDGs and 169 targets. Prominently mentioned in Target 3.b of SDG 3 are the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health.