Jul 142016

tHoen coverThe 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. Continue reading »

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Jul 122016

nz flagMinistry of Business, Innovation, and Employment
Government of New Zealand

Submissions are due by 5pm on Monday, 8 August 2016
Consultation document (PDF)

On 11 July 2016, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a consultation document seeking feedback on proposed regulations to implement the patent term extension provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Amendment Bill. The Bill will, when it enters into force, amend the Patents Act 2013 to provide for patent term extensions for:

  • Unreasonable delays in patent grant; and
  • Unreasonable curtailment of the effective patent term as a result of the Medsafe approval process.

Continue reading »

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Jun 132016
image: 未知との遭遇 (CC-BY)

image: 未知との遭遇 (CC-BY)

[TWN, Link] Letter sent by 38 Civil Society Groups to India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand, Lao, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, Brunei, Singapore, Cambodia, Japan, South Korea

As civil society organisations concerned with access to medicines, to educational resources, to environmentally sound technologies (ESTs), and to other public goods and cultural creations and further concerned with farmers’ rights, food security and industrial development, we call on countries negotiating the RCEP agreement and to protect the flexibilities available under the WTO TRIPS agreement for Least Developed Countries (LDCs).  Continue reading »

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May 312016

EAForum[Kyla Tienhaara and Belinda Townsend, East Asia Forum, Link] On 2 May 2016, US President Barack Obama published an op-ed in the Washington Post in an attempt to bolster support for the highly controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP has become a political football in the US election primaries, with all of the leading candidates for President expressing their opposition to it.

Obama was alluding to the latest round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), recently held in Perth. This agreement includes China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, India and the 10 countries that make up ASEAN. Obama seems to be concerned that RCEP won’t mirror the TPP’s stance on issues like intellectual property protection. Continue reading »

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May 172016

colombia flag - better cropping[Joint Letter Signed by 122 Experts – PDF in English and Spanish, with Signatures] Dear President Santos:  We are lawyers, academics and other experts specializing in fields including intellectual property, trade and health, writing to affirm that international law and policy support Colombia´s right to issue compulsory licenses on patents in order to promote public interests including access to affordable medicines. Continue reading »

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May 092016

aust productivity commPrevious infojustice posts about the Australian Government’s Productivity Commission’s Draft Report on Intellectual Property Arrangements have focused on its recommendation that Australia adopt fair use in its copyright law (here and here).  This post highlights the findings regarding the extension of terms for pharmaceutical patents. Australia’s law, in effect since 1999, grants extensions to pharmaceutical firms to make up for time during which the patented drug is awaiting marketing approval.  Total patent term may be extended up to a total of 25 years. Continue reading »

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Apr 222016
image: 未知との遭遇 (CC-BY)

image: 未知との遭遇 (CC-BY)

Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) has leaked draft texts of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) chapters on intellectual property and investment.  The drafts are dated October 2015. RCEP is a large trade deal being negotiated by the ASEAN nations (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and their current FTA partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand). Negotiations are happening this week in Perth, Australia.

Though RCEP is sometimes presented as a sort of non-U.S.-influenced alternative to the Trans Pacific Partnership, many of the same types of provisions are found in the IP and investment chapters.  Continue reading »

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Apr 192016

clinton-sandersThe Pennsylvania Fair Trade Coalition (PFTC) has released questionnaires completed by candidates Sanders and Clinton on their views on the Trans Pacific Partnership. The questionnaires consist of ten questions and allow the candidates to give detailed answers.  Topics include intellectual property and medicines, labor, environment, and fast track. Both candidates’ fully completed questionnaires are available in the PFTC press release. Question 4, on intellectual property and access to medicine, and each candidates’ full answer, are reproduced below: Continue reading »

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Apr 132016

msf big square cropped[Joint civil society letter, Link]  Dear Member of Congress: As organizations concerned with public health in the United States and across the world, we are alarmed by the implications for access to medicines of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed by the U.S. and 11 other countries on February 4th, 2016. The intellectual property (IP), investment, and pharmaceutical and medical device reimbursement listing provisions included in the TPP would do more to undermine access to affordable medicines than any previous U.S. trade agreement. We therefore urge you to reject the TPP in its current form. Continue reading »

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Apr 042016

WCL main logoThe following submission was made last week by Peter Jaszi, Michael Carroll, Sean Flynn and Meredith Jacob to the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It was in response to a consultation document released by the Ministry on the implementation of TPP intellectual property obligations. Continue reading »

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Mar 252016

US-EUThe European Union has published its report on the 12th round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment (TTIP) negotiations, held in Brussels Februiary 22-26.  The full document is available here.  The section reporting on the intellectual property negotiation (pp. 15-16) follows:

3.5 Intellectual property rights, including Geographical Indications

Given the efficiency of the respective systems, the EU’s intention in this area of negotiations is not to strive towards harmonisation but to identify issues of common interest where we can address divergences. The latest discussions continued to explore what elements a TTIP IPR chapter could include. Continue reading »

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Mar 152016

chienAuthor: Colleen Chien

Abstract: One of the purposes of the Trans‐Pacific Partnership (TPP) is to harmonize standards and create a uniform climate for trade and investment. As lawmakers deliberate the terms of the deal, they must consider what the long‐term impact of agreeing to its sweeping provisions will be. As they do so, they should keep in mind that the gaps between the agreed‐upon principles and local implementation, and the differences between local implementation – some of them by design – are often quite great. Drawing upon the existing literature, this short essay provides a survey of the extent of harmony and disharmony in the 20 years that have passed since ratification of the TRIPS agreement, with a focus on its patent provisions. Continue reading »

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