Jun 182015
 
(cc)  rakka

Photo by rakka (CC-BY)

The effects of patenting pharmaceutical products on access to medicines in developing countries are relatively recent as these countries have only been mandated by the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) rules to grant patents on pharmaceuticals since 2005. As a result there are a limited number of empirical studies documenting these effects.

However, patents grant the patent holder a monopoly on the market that allows the blocking of price-lowering generic competition and the raising of prices which restricts affordable access to medicines. Where patent and other intellectual property (IP) barriers do not exist, generic competition has proven to lower prices of medicines. The attached memo provides numerous examples where intellectual property rules stronger than those required by TRIPS have raised the cost of medicines. Continue reading »

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Jun 152015
 

sessionsEarlier this month, Senator Jeff Sessions wrote President Obama to ask him to make a section of the Trans Pacific Partnership public – the section that creates a “new transnational governance structure known as the Trans Pacific Partnership Commission” which would “have the authority to amend the agreement after its adoption, to add new members, and to issue regulations impacting labor, immigration, environmental and commercial policy.”

The senator was frustrated by the secrecy surrounding the text. To read it, he had to visit the secret reading room in the basement of the Capitol Visitors center where legislators can read the text, while being watched by security guards. He is unable to discuss anything he has read with advisers, staffers, or the people he represents. Continue reading »

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Jun 122015
 

OCTOBER 11, 2010 - Law professor David Levine. (Photo by Kim Walker)Congress appears poised to pass Trade Promotion Authority, otherwise known as ‘fast track,’ for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). If this happens, it will likely close the door to any possibility of meaningful public input about TPP’s scope and contours. That’s a major problem, as this “21st century trade agreement” encompassing around 800 million people in the United States and eleven other countries, will impact areas ranging from access to medicine (who gets it) to digital privacy rights (who has them). But, unless you are a United States Trade Representative (USTR) “cleared advisor” (which almost always means that you represent an industry, like entertainment or pharmaceuticals), or, under certain limited circumstances, an elected official, your chief source of TPP information is WikiLeaks. In other words, if Julian Assange gets his hands on a draft TPP text, you might see it, once he decides that it should be made public. Of course, you’ll have to hope that the copy that you see is current and accurate. Continue reading »

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May 262015
 

derechos digitalesIn a special session about TPP at the Chilean House of Representatives, Heraldo Muñoz, the local Foreign Affairs Minister, identified intellectual property and pharmaceutical patents as the most sensitive issues for Chile in the negotiation.

In a two-hour session at the the House of Representatives Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Muñoz presented the benefits and the costs of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for Chile, and answered questions made by representatives, especially regarding intellectual property and US certification. The session was requested by 45 representatives, led by the former student leader and current representative for Santiago, Giorgio Jackson, with the intent to have more information about the secretive negotiations on TPP. Continue reading »

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May 262015
 
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

Though the recently scheduled Ministerial meeting was postponed – reflecting other countries’ frustration with the United States’ inability to win Congressional passage of Fast Track trade negotiating authority – the intellectual property negotiators have been attempting to finalize as much text as possible.

The Japan Times reports that the intellectual property chapter appears “likely to be the last hurdle to concluding the talks.” Remaining issues that are under debate include copyright term, geographical indications, and data exclusivity (a time period during which generic firms cannot win approval of their products based on clinical data previously disclosed by branded firms). Continue reading »

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May 202015
 
Image:  EFF (CC-BY)

Image: EFF (CC-BY)

Joint letter to Congress
PDF with signatures on eff.org

Dear Members of Congress: We write to you as a community representing thousands of our nation’s innovators, entrepreneurs, job-­‐creators, and users to express our concern over trade agreements such as the Trans-­‐Pacific Partnership (TPP). Despite containing many provisions that go far beyond the scope of traditional trade policy, the public is kept in the dark as these deals continue to be negotiated behind closed doors with heavy influence from only a limited subset of stakeholders. Continue reading »

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May 142015
 

sean at podiumThe Senate and House Reports on the Trade Promotion Authority bills working through Congress include important, albeit limited, steps toward endorsing balanced intellectual property norms in trade policy.

The Senate report, released today, states: Continue reading »

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May 112015
 

amfar issue briefamFAR: The Foundation for AIDS Research

OVERVIEW: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is currently being negotiated among 12 Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. If passed, it will become the largest U.S. free trade agreement (FTA) in history. It is anticipated that the agreement will expand existing intellectual property (IP) protections on pharmaceutical products, which will ultimately impede access to affordable generic medicines for diseases  such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis, and hepatitis C. Continue reading »

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May 012015
 

sean at podium

In preparation for my role in warming up for Noam Chomsky on WORTFM Madison Wisconsin today, I put together this FAQ on the TPP ISDS leak and intellectual property policy concerns. As with all our posts, this is a CC-By product — please feel free to use or adapt for other purposes with attribution.

What is the core concern with ISDS? Continue reading »

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Apr 242015
 

WCL logo white on blueThe table linked below compares the full text of Title XXII of the Trade Act of 2002, ( the last Trade Promotion Authority law, which expired in 2007); the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014; and the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015. It includes the text of each, and highlights areas where they differ.

This table is an update of an earlier 2-column table by Terence P. Stewart of the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart.  PIJIP Fellow Alexandra Resh updated it with the new information.

PIJIP Table comparing TPA Legislation from 2002, 2014, 2015.

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Apr 232015
 

openmediaCanada Is Walking Into a Copyright Trap Warn Advocates

Content creators and everyday Canadians will pay the price for continued mishandling of copyright policy from government, as unaddressed Notice and Notice loophole continues to expose Canadians to abuse  

[OpenMedia Press Release, Link, (CC-BY-NC-SA)]  Canadians got an unpleasant surprise in the budget yesterday when the government announced that it would be extending copyright for sound recordings by 20 years, up from Canada’s current term of life of the creator plus 50 years. The move comes after the flawed implementation of Canada’s Notice and Notice system, which has left Canadians exposed to abusive and misleading copyright notices from foreign media giants. Continue reading »

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Apr 222015
 

isp-logoBrianna van Kan, Ben Picozzi, and Rebecca Wexler
Yale Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic

On April 3, 2015, Intellectual Property Watch (IP-Watch) completed its written arguments to the federal district court in Manhattan in a case that could compel the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to release basic information regarding USTR’s negotiations over the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. In particular, IP-Watch’s lawsuit and summary judgment motion asks U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos to order USTR to release documents that relate to the intellectual property provisions of the TPP—including USTR’s final negotiating positions, the portions of the draft agreement that the U.S. has proposed or adopted, and communications between USTR and the industry representatives who sit on Industry Trade Advisory Committees (ITACs). Both IP-Watch and USTR have filed opposing summary judgment motions and are now waiting for Judge Ramos to rule on the case. Continue reading »

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