I released a statement earlier today opining that the today’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement (available at https://wikileaks.org/tpp-investment/WikiLeaks-TPP-Investment-Chapter.pdf) would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights in unaccountable international arbitration forums. This note gives further background and analysis supporting that statement.
Today’s leak of the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) chapter proposed for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would give new rights to private companies to challenge limitations and exceptions to copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights in unaccountable international arbitration forums. The text contains the same provisions that are being used by Eli Lilly to challenge Canada’s invalidation of patent extensions for new uses of two medicines originally developed in the 1970s. The same language is also being used by Philip Morris to challenge Uruguay’s regulation of advertising on cigarette packages as an “expropriation” of their trademarks. But the TPP language goes farther. It includes a new footnote, not previously released as part of any other investment chapter and not included in the U.S. model investment text — clarifying that private expropriation actions can be brought to challenge “the cancellation or nullification of such [intellectual property] rights,” as well as “exceptions to such rights.”
[Maira Sutton, EFF, Link (CC-BY)] “We are deeply concerned about this situation in which important decisions for our nation’s culture and society are being made behind closed doors” reads a joint public statement from Japanese activists who are fighting the copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). A group of artists, archivists, academics, and activists, have joined forces in Japan to call on their negotiators to oppose requirements in the TPP that would require their country, and five of the other 11 nations negotiating this secretive agreement, to expand their copyright terms to match the United States’ already excessive length of copyright.
Introduction: Recently the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released a memo to reporters with Q&A’s on Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). ISDS is a mechanism by which foreign investors can challenge national governments, alleging that the government violated their investor rights. These rights include the right to be fairly compensated for expropriated property and to non-discriminatory treatment, but also the right to a “minimum standard of treatment,” which includes “fair and equitable treatment” and “full protection and security” and the right to be free from “performance requirements.”
Earlier this month the Progressive Congressional Caucused released principles for guiding trade negotiations intended to “create a net increase of good American jobs, spur more balanced trade between partners, and improve governance, public health, and environmental protections around the world.” The full Principles for Trade are here (PDF). The section titled “Secure Affordable Access to Essential Medicines and Services” follows:
[Cross posted from Heesob’s IP Blog, Link] One of the controversies in implementing the KorUS FTA is whether biological products are subject to the patent linkage obligation of the KorUS FTA. The debate was provoked by the Korean government’s proposal which applies the patent linkage to biologics. But it is unclear if the FTA text imposes such an obligation.
Chapter 18 (IPRs) has no definition of pharmaceutical products for the patent linkage, only the provision of patent term extention defining a “new pharmaceutical product” as “a product that at least contains a new chemical entity that has not been previously approved as a pharmaceutical product in the territory of the Party.” See Article 18.8:5 FN21. In contrast, Chapter 5 (Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices) makes clear that “pharmaceutical product or medical device means a pharmaceutical, biologic, medical device, or diagnostic product.”
Summary: Intellectual property (IP) protections proposed by the United States for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have sparked widespread alarm about the potential negative impact on access to affordable medicines. The most recently leaked draft of the IP chapter shows some shifts in the US position, presumably in response to ongoing resistance from other countries. While some problematic provisions identified in earlier drafts have been removed or mitigated, major concerns remain unresolved.
Last week the Obama Administration released its Budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which includes a number of policy proposals designed to save money for both the government and taxpayers. Its proposal to shorten the monopolies granted to brand name biologic drugs – and thereby hasten generic competition – would directly clash with the provisions the Administration seeks in the Trans Pacific Partnership.
In August 2014 a memorandum and supporting documents published on the website www.tppnocertification.org exposed how the United States uses a process called ‘certification’ to require other countries to implement the US’s interpretation of those other countries’ obligations under their free trade treaties.
Unless those countries’ comply, the US will not exchange the diplomatic notes that are necessary to bring the agreement into force. A number of examples showed how the US has used certification to intervene actively in other countries’ legislative processes in recent years.
January 26, 2015 | 9:30 – 2:30
American University School of International Service
Printable agenda & directions (PDF)
Co-hosted by the AU School of International Service and AU Washington College of Law’s Program on International Organizations, Law and Diplomacy
The event will be streamed live at http://bit.ly/1ExHnX9.
In his visit to the G20 in Brisbane, President Barack Obama sought to promote his ambitious Pacific Rim trade agreement — the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He told an audience at the University of Queensland:
We’ll keep leading the effort to realize the Trans-Pacific Partnership to lower barriers, open markets, export goods, and create good jobs for our people. But with the 12 countries of the TPP making up nearly 40 percent of the global economy, this is also about something bigger. It is our chance to put in place new, high standards for trade in the 21st century that uphold our values. So, for example, we are pushing new standards in this trade agreement, requiring countries that participate to protect their workers better and to protect the environment better, and protect intellectual property that unleashes innovation, and baseline standards to ensure transparency and rule of law.
Dear Mr. President: The organizations signing this letter want to express our deep concerns regarding some of the provisions under negotiation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). These provisions could seriously impact access to affordable medicines by delaying generic competition as well as impacting governments’ ability to advance public health policies in the U.S and around the world.
While we have different perspectives and interests, we are united by our shared concerns regarding access to affordable medicines and the need to ensure competition in the pharmaceutical market in the U.S. and abroad.