Abstract: This paper analyses certain key provisions of the leaked 16 May 2014 text of the TPP IP Chapter – mostly, the ones people haven’t been talking about: particularly the trade mark, designs, and geographical indications provisions, as well as rules regarding national treatment, the preamble or objectives clauses, and the criminal liability provisions. It also makes some limited comments about the interaction between the chapter and investor-state dispute settlement.
Trade secrecy, arguably the most active but least understood and studied of intellectual property’s doctrines, is on the rise. Over the past two years, there has been increased legislative activity in this space — the most since the revision of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in 1985. Most prominently, it has been the subject of an alarming report out of the White House documenting increasing risk to US corporations from state-sponsored cyberespionage. Based upon those significant but hard to quantify harms, bills have been introduce in Congress over the past few years designed to amplify the options for aggrieved companies. The perceived inadequacies in the current law have spurred the most recent legislation, known as the Defend Trade Secrets Act and Trade Secrets Protection Act.
The newly leaked May 16 draft of the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property chapter confirms previous reports that negotiators are discussing plans to postpone some of the TRIPS-Plus obligations on intellectual property and pharmaceuticals for some of the countries involved.
It includes as an addendum a “Proposal on Patent Pharmaceuticals Transition Periods” that would establish three “categories” of country, which are relatively high, middle, and low income. The relatively middle and low income countries would have transition periods that delayed their obligations related to patent extensions, linkage, and data exclusivity. After relatively short transition periods, all countries would have to apply the TRIPS-Plus rules that the World Health Organization warns may have “adverse impacts on access to medicines.” (p.72)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a sweeping trade agreement, spanning the Pacific Rim, and covering an array of topics, including intellectual property. There has been much analysis of the recently leaked intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership by WikiLeaks. Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief, observed “The selective secrecy surrounding the TPP negotiations, which has let in a few cashed-up megacorps but excluded everyone else, reveals a telling fear of public scrutiny. By publishing this text we allow the public to engage in issues that will have such a fundamental impact on their lives.” Critical attention has focused upon the lack of transparency surrounding the agreement, copyright law and the digital economy; patent law, pharmaceutical drugs, and data protection; and the criminal procedures and penalties for trade secrets. The topic of trade mark law and related rights, such as internet domain names and geographical indications, deserves greater analysis.
For Immediate Release
Health GAP (Global Access Project)
Contact: Paul Davis: +1 202 817 0129
Wikileaks has released a 77-page document revealing the negotiation positions of the twelve Pacific rim countries locked in negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The leaks reveal nothing but bad news for hundreds of millions of people living both in rich and poor countries whose access to affordable medicines will be threatened by the patent extremism that the White House seeks to export and impose on TPP trading partners.
Today, Wikileaks has released a draft text of the Trans Pacific Partnership intellectual property chapter, dated May 14, 2014. This is the most up-to-date source for the text, which is kept secret by negotiators, despite numerous calls for its release. (The previous leak, upon which much of the recent TPP analysis was based, was from August 2013.)
The full text is available here. Also see comments on it from Knowledge Ecology International, Public Citizen, Derechos Digitales, Association of Research Libraries, Médecins Sans Frontières, Michael Geist, Margot Kaminski and a Wall Street Journal Story by Ed Silverman. More to come soon!
Brand name pharmaceutical companies are advocating for inclusion of disciplines on public pharmaceutical reimbursement programs in the ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade agreements. This post answers some frequently asked questions by U.S. public health advocates about these proposals.
Why is pharmaceutical reimbursement policy being negotiated in trade agreements?
Oxfam press release, Link
Insufficient innovation and a lack of access to affordable medicines are major barriers to achieving the right to health in low- and middle-income countries.
This paper argues that European Union trade policies should not be used to bolster pharmaceutical companies’ profits by extending their monopolies on medicine prices to supposedly reward research. Instead, the incoming European Commission must defend a trade and R&D model that is coherent with its development and public health objectives, and that supports innovative R&D models that create new, affordable medicines.
Excerpt from Competition Policy Review, Draft Report, September 2014, published under a CC-BY license. The review is being conducted by a panel chaired by Professor Ian Harper. It is accepting comments until November 17, and will issue a final report by March 15. The full draft report (and instructions for comments) is available here. The excerpt below is from pages 87-88.
For individual countries, the optimal design and level of IP rights depends on the extent to which they are net importers or exporters of different forms of IP. Australia is a net importer of IP. With trade and commerce-related aspects of IP crossing national borders, IP has been the subject of international treaties. Frameworks influencing Australian IP law and trade and commerce in IP both within Australia and internationally, include:
Matthew Rimmer argues that Big Tobacco has been engaged in a dark, shadowy plot and conspiracy to hijack the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and undermine tobacco control measures – such as graphic health warnings and the plain packaging of tobacco products.
Cross posted from Public Citizen’s Eye’s on Trade. Link.
In an op-ed appearing in Forbes on Tuesday, the CEO of Eli Lilly, a U.S. pharmaceutical corporation, paints a glowing picture of how the proposed Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) would benefit consumers on both sides of the Atlantic – but it’s pure fantasy.
It is not surprising that Eli Lilly is cheerleading this controversial deal. This is the same pharmaceutical firm that is using the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – TAFTA’s predecessor – to challenge Canada’s legal standards for granting patents and demand $500 million in taxpayer compensation.