Abstract: The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a large regional trade agreement involving 12 countries. It was signed in principle in February 2016 but has not yet been ratified in any of the participating countries. The TPP provisions place a range of constraints on how governments regulate the pharmaceutical sector and set prices for medicines. This article presents a prospective policy analysis of the possible effects of the TPP on these two points in Canada and Australia.
The New Zealand Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade has posted draft legislation to bring its law into compliance with the Trans Pacific Partnership, as well comments on the legislation, all of which are available here. The following excerpt from the comments submitted by Google New Zealand focuses on the importance of a “flexible and dynamic” copyright exception.
Google believes that in order to promote innovation and creativity, New Zealand should adopt copyright exceptions that allow the market, new technologies and new creativity to evolve. New Zealand needs not only technologically neutral copyright protections, but also dynamic, technology neutral exceptions that allow new, legitimate uses of copyright and services to evolve as technology evolves.
Abstract: Commissioned for the CEIPI-ICTSD Publication Series, this article discusses the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with a focus on intellectual property issues. The partnership is currently being negotiated among Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
[Anubha Sinha, Centre for Internet and Society, Link (CC-BY)] ] The Centre for Internet and Society sent a letter to Members of Parliament on July 27, 2016 to appeal to re-examine the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
To The Hon’ble Chief Minister / Member of Parliament: We are writing to you to draw your attention to the concerns related to India’s engagement in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega-regional trade agreement (MRTA), currently under negotiation. We write as part of a forum on free trade agreements (FTAs), which is a network of over 80 civil society organisations and concerned individuals from across India. It came together in 2008 to analyse the impacts of India’s FTAs on people’s lives & livelihoods.
The 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.
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.
[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).
[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.
[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.
Previous 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.
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.
The 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: