Apr 272015

south centre research paper 61 coverThe following is the introduction of South Centre Research Paper no. 61, Guidelines on Patentability and Access to Medicines, by Germán Velásquez.  The full paper is available here.

Until recently, the link between the examination of patents carried out by national patent offices and the right of citizens to access to medicines was not at all clear. They were two functions or responsibilities of the State that apparently had nothing to do with each other. Examining the growing literature on intellectual property and access to medicines, it seems that the analysis of one actor has been left out: the patent offices. And the reason is clear: patent offices are administrative institutions. Patentability requirements are not defined by patent offices, but frequently by the courts, tribunals, legislation or treaty negotiators. There is now greater understanding that the examination of patents and the role played by patent examiners are key elements that could contribute to or obstruct access to medicines. Given the impact of pharmaceutical patents on access to medicines, patent offices should draw up public policies and strategies that respond to national health and medicine policies. Continue reading »

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Apr 252015

art19ARTICLE 19 has welcomed the annual report of Farida Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, presented to the 28th Session of the Human Rights Council in March 2015. The Special Rapporteur’s final report subjects copyright laws and policies to a thorough human rights analysis, referencing “the Right to Share” Principles, developed by ARTICLE 19 and a group of international experts.

The report draws on Article 27 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Article 15(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which protect both authorship and cultural participation, and questions the assumption that strong copyright enforcement is synonymous with advancing either of these interests.

Click here for the full blog on article19.org.

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Apr 222015

margaret-qianAuthors: Margaret Kyle and Yi Qian

Abstract: We examine the effect of pharmaceutical patent protection on the speed of drug launch, price, and quantity in 60 countries from 2000-2013. The World Trade Organization required its member countries to implement a minimum level of patent protection within a specified time period as part of the TRIPS Agreement. Continue reading »

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Mar 262015

sean at podiumToday’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights in unaccountable international arbitration forums. The text contains the same provisions that are being used by Eli Lilly to challenge Canada’s invalidation of patent extensions for new uses of two medicines originally developed in the 1970s. The same language is also being used by Philip Morris to challenge Uruguay’s regulation of advertising on cigarette packages as an “expropriation” of their trademarks. But the TPP language goes farther. It includes a new footnote, not previously released as part of any other investment chapter and not included in the U.S. model investment text — clarifying that private expropriation actions can be brought to challenge “the cancellation or nullification of such [intellectual property] rights,” as well as “exceptions to such rights.”

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 232015

eifl[Electronic Information for Libraries, Link (CC-BY)]New translations in French and Russian of ‘The Marrakesh Treaty: an EIFL Guide for Libraries’ are now available online. The new translations will help ensure that the guide is read in more EIFL partner countries, and is used by more librarians to advocate for ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty for persons with print disabilities. Continue reading »

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Mar 182015

ifla-logo[Joint statement by 15 civil society groups, Link, (CC-BY)] On Wednesday, 11th March 2015, the UN Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights presents a report to the 28th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva regarding copyright policy in the context of cultural rights. The international library and archive community welcomes the report that examines copyright from a critical but often neglected perspective: the human dimension.

Click here for the full statement (PDF).

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Mar 162015

ncube[Excerpt from op-ed in the Pretoria News] Tomorrow will see the launch of the 2015 South African Library Week with the theme connect @ your library.  The value of reading for people of all ages is indisputable, as is the crucial role libraries play in making books available.  But, as we prepare to celebrate the value of books and the role of libraries, let’s spare a thought for those who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled (VIPs). There is general agreement that books are limited and expensive for sighted people, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged. Imagine how much more so they are for VIPs.  The World Blind Union rightly says that they experience a book famine.

Click here for the full op-ed (PDF).

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Mar 102015

BrookBakerThe NGO delegation to the Board of UNITAID offers its strong support for the proposal of WTO least developed country Members to extend the transition period for enforcing protections for pharmaceutical related patents and clinical data “for as long as the WTO member remains a least developed country.”  The proposal, IP/C/W/605, was offered by Bangladesh on behalf of LDCs at the 24-25 February 2015 meeting of the WTO TRIPS Council and will be taken forward at its next 1 June 2015 meeting.

In addition to seeking an unconditional extension of the current pharmaceutical transition period set to expire on 1 January 2016, the LDCs also seek a waiver from the General Council with respect to two additional transition measures, namely mailbox and exclusive marketing rights provisions under Articles 70(8) and 70(9) of the TRIPS Agreement. Continue reading »

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Mar 092015

Fostering freedom online: the role of Internet intermediaries; U[UNESCO press release, Link]  “Fostering Freedom Online: the Role of Internet Intermediaries” is the title of a new title in the UNESCO Internet freedom series. With the rise of Internet intermediaries that play a mediating role on the internet between authors of content and audiences, UNESCO took a joint initiative, with the Open Society Foundations, the Internet Society, and Center for Global Communication Studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, to examine this recent historical phenomenon and how it impacts on freedom of expression and associated fundamental rights such as privacy.

The case study research, collaboratively delivered by 16 international researchers led by Ms Rebecca MacKinnon and Mr Allon Bar, as well as 14 members of International Advisory Committee, covers of three categories of intermediaries: Continue reading »

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Feb 252015

BrookBakerLDCs Members have submitted a duly motivated request for an unconditional extension of the 2002-2016 pharmaceutical transition period (covering patents and data) and for relief from the requirements of TRIPS Article 70.8 and 70.9 (mailbox and marketing exclusivity provisions).  This expert analysis confirm LDCs’ need and entitlement to the requested extension.​

Professor Brook K. Baker[1]
Full Text (PDF) Continue reading »

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Feb 162015

HCV report cover[Mike Isbell, Renée Ridzon, and Karin Timmermans, UNITAID/WHO , Link ] Executive summary: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major global health problem. With 80−150 million people worldwide chronically infected with the virus, the prevalence of HCV is higher than that of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Worldwide, 4−5 million people are coinfected with HIV and HCV. Each year, 500,000−700,000 people die of HCV-related liver disease, and evidence indicates that the HCV burden is increasing. While the HCV epidemic is global in scope, the HCV burden varies considerably between regions. There are six major genotypes of HCV, with genotypes 1 and 3 together accounting for more than three quarters of HCV infections. Continue reading »

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