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?
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.
As Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiators began this week’s round of talks in Hanoi, the International Chamber of Commerce issued a white paper urging the inclusion of strong trade secret provisions in the agreement.
“Trade Secrets: Tools for Innovation and Collaboration” argues that trade secret theft has been growing since the 1990s, both within countries and across borders. Stronger protection is needed in order for businesses to operate within today’s systems of collaborative innovation and cross-border development.
Inside U.S. Trade reports that Taiwan is taking steps to develop a system of patent linkage, which would prevent generic firms from gaining marketing approval for their products while originator products are still under patent. The country wants to join the Trans Pacific Partnership at a later date, and it expects that patent linkage will be one of the requirements for countries wishing to acceded to the Agreement.
A new website has been launched today (www.tppnocertification.org) that documents the extraordinary process of ‘certification’ through which the United States claims the right to vet and approve other countries laws before it will allow a trade and investment treaty to come into force.
This process has existed for many years, but it has been used more intensively in the past decade because Congress was dissatisfied with how some countries had been implementing their US free trade agreements.
Maude Barlow is the chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and the founder of the Blue Planet Project. She is a recipient of Sweden’s Right Livelihood Award, and a Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship. As well as being a noted human rights and trade activist, Barlow is the author of a number of books on water rights – including Blue Gold, Blue Covenant, and Blue Future. She has been particularly vocal on the impact of trade and investment agreements upon water rights. Barlow has been critical of the push to include investor-state dispute settlement clauses in trade agreements – such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP). She has also been concerned by the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) leaked by WikiLeaks.
[Matthew Schewel for Inside U.S. Trade] A confidential Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiating document obtained by Inside U.S. Trade sheds new light on the extent of disagreement that remains over controversial provisions on intellectual property (IP) protection for pharmaceuticals, roughly three months ahead of a November target for producing a substantial outcome in the talks.
The two-page document, which outlines potential options, or “landing zones,” for resolving pharmaceutical IP issues, indicates that TPP countries have coalesced around a U.S. proposal under which less-developed members would be able to temporarily provide a lower standard of drug IP protection than more developed members.
But it shows that TPP countries are still at odds over the substantive obligations that would be required for each standard, as well as the mechanism for transitioning countries from the lower standard to the higher one.
Tyler Snell, Digital Rights LAC, Link (CC-BY-SA)
A growing pernicious trend that is greatly affecting digital policy around the world is called “policy laundering” – the use of secretive international trade agreements to pressure countries to commit to restrictive or overly broad laws that would not ordinarily pass a transparent, democratic process.