Jun 232015
 

Henning Grosse Ruse-KhanForthcoming in H Ullrich, R Hilty, M Lamping, J Drexl, TRIPS plus 20 – From Trade Rules to Market Principles, Springer (2015) Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Research Paper No. 15-05.

Abstract: In the 1980s, significant differences in the levels of intellectual property (IP) protection around the globe triggered unilateral responses of the US as the key demandeur for stronger IP rights. Aspects of this IP unilateralism in turn served as a trade barrier for the importation of goods from other countries into the US. Some of these US measures were successfully challenged as a breach of international trade rules under GATT. Continue reading »

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Jun 222015
 

gc2015 logo-400pxThe User Rights track of the Fourth Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest[1], to take place in Delhi, India, December 15-17, 2016, seeks research contributions. The User Rights track will focus on how law and policy can play a key role in breaking down barriers to full participation in the digital economy through expansions of user rights — the rights of users to access, use and transform digital content to further social, economic, cultural and political purposes. User rights can be found in diverse fields of law, including in human rights (e.g. the right to freedom of expression and opinion, the right to participate in cultural heritage, the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress, the right to privacy, the right to health), in limitations and exceptions and enforcement policies in intellectual property laws, in net neutrality and other communication industry regulation, in consumer and competition protection, in privacy rights — including those related to the capturing of user data, in contracts and terms of service, and through other laws that protect the rights of users of the digital economy and the content shared through it. Continue reading »

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Jun 152015
 

who-logoStatement at the WTO TRIPS Council, June 2015Agenda Item: Request of Least Developed Country WTO Members with Respect to the Extension of the Transition Period for Pharmaceutical Products

Universal health coverage is the central  policy objective in global public health and part of the future UN Sustainable Development Goals. Universal health coverage means that all people obtain the full spectrum of essential, quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. This requires a strong, efficient, well-run health system that meets priority health needs through people-centred integrated care. Health systems must provide for a system for financing health services, a sufficient capacity of well-trained health workers and be able to ensure access to safe, effective and affordable essential medicines and technologies. Continue reading »

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Jun 012015
 

wto-logo[Joint Letter from 70 civil society groups to the Members of the World Trade Organization, PDF] As civil society organizations concerned with ensuring prompt availability of affordable medicines in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) we call on WTO Members to unconditionally accord the LDC Group an extension of the transition period with respect to pharmaceutical products and waivers from obligations under Article 70.8 (mailbox obligation) and Article 70.9 (exclusive marketing rights) as requested in their duly motivated request to the TRIPs Council (IP/C/W/605). Continue reading »

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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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