Response of Indian Patient and Civil Society Groups to the Prime Minister’s Statement on IPRs

[Joint statement by Indian NGOs] Following Prime Minister Modi’s statement at the US-India Business Council yesterday that “India is ready to accept suggestions made by a joint working group with the United States on intellectual property rights,” patient and civil society groups have responded: “It is now clear that the Indian government is willing to sell the interests of Indian patients in order to please US based pharmaceutical companies. If this is the outcome of President Obama’s visit then the fears of Indian patient groups and civil society that this visit would adversely affect the health of millions are more than realised,” said Amit Sengupta, Convenor, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan. Click here for more.

See also:

  • Sean Flynn.  U.S. Law Professors Call for India IP Policy to Promote Balance and Focus on IP’s Ends.
  • KM Gopakumar for the Hindu Business Line. IP policy should drive research for self-sufficiency in pharma. Link.

The Shadow of a Treaty

[Margot Kaminski] On December 15th, the Ninth Circuit  heard en banc oral arguments in a contentious copyright case: Garcia v. Google. The core questions in the case are interesting enough: whether performer Cindy Lee Garcia can claim copyright protection for her five-second performance in the film Innocence of Muslims, and whether Google should consequently be enjoined from showing the movie… But the surprise issue of the day was raised (unsurprisingly) by Judge Alex Kozinski. Judge Kozinski wrote the original panel opinion holding that Garcia should receive copyright protection, and he spent the en banc oral argument vigorously defending his stance. One avenue of defense Judge Kozinski chose was to reference the language of a recently negotiated treaty: the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. Click here for more.

People Living with Cancer Join the Fix the Patent Laws Campaign

[Treatment Action Campaign] On World Cancer Day , People Living With Cancer – a South African support group representing thousands of patients – publicly signed on to support the Fix the Patent Laws campaign. The campaign aims to ensure access to affordable medicines for all people living in South Africa including those affected by cancer. The campaign was started in November 2011 by the Treatment Action Campaign, Doctors without Borders and SECTION27. “Often the price tags on cancer drugs in this country are unacceptably high. Newer, more effective medicines can be so expensive that sometimes they are completely unavailable to patients in the public sector,” said Linda Greef of People Living With Cancer. Click here for more.

Open Education Review Project

[John Hilton] This review provides a summary of all known empirical research on the impacts of OER adoption (including our own). The version originally published here in February 2015 was abstracted from of an article submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. We are continuing to add reviews of new articles as we become aware of them. If you know of an empirical research study on the impacts of OER adoption that is not included in this review, please leave a comment below. Click here for the project.

Copyright policy and the Right to Science and Culture

[Carolyn Ncube]  A report entitled ‘Copyright policy and the right to science and culture’ authored by  the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed has been released (download it here, ref A/HRC/28/57 ). The document summary reads: “In the present report, the Special Rapporteur examines copyright law and policy from the perspective of the right to science and culture, emphasizing both the need for protection of authorship and expanding opportunities for participation in cultural life. Recalling that protection of authorship differs from copyright protection, the Special Rapporteur proposes several tools to advance the human rights interests of authors. The Special Rapporteur also proposes to expand copyright exceptions and limitations to empower new creativity, enhance rewards to authors, increase educational opportunities, preserve space for non-commercial culture and promote inclusion and access to cultural works. An equally important recommendation is to promote cultural and scientific participation by encouraging the use of open licences, such as those offered by Creative Commons.” Click here for more.

Further evidence of risks from US Certification in TPP: Australia’s experience in the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement

[Jane Kelsey] In August 2014 a memorandum and supporting documents published on the website 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. Click here for more.

Senators Hatch and Schumer Seek More Action by USTR in Bilateral Trade Disputes Over Intellectual Property Protection

[Mike Palmedo] Last week the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on the Obama Administration’s trade policy, in which U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman was the sole witness… During Q&A, many of the Senators brought up enforcement of trade agreements as a very important area for USTR to focus its energies.   Two Senators, in particular, indicated they wanted the U.S. to be been more active in trade disputes over intellectual property, through either FTA frameworks or bilateral measures: Click here for more.

The Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights

[Andrea Filippetti and Daniele Archibugi] Abstract: There is a heated debated – in academia and in policy circles – about the usefulness of a stronger global regime of intellectual property rights (IPRs). Supporters of strong IPRs argue that they will increase investments in R&D and innovation and disseminating it across countries. Detractors respond that this would imply another burden on developing countries, making slower and more difficult their catching up. The introduction of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in 1994 has even further polarized these positions. We argue that the relevance of IPRs in facilitating or obstructing technology transfer has largely been exaggerated. Innovation-based development is neither hampered nor facilitated by strong or weak IPRs, but rather by the willingness to invest resources in R&D, education, and infrastructures. While TRIPS have effectively represented an attempt to generate a global regime of IPRs, its economic effectiveness has been rather limited since enforcement and policing of IPRs infractions are still firmly in the hands of national authorities. Click here for the full paper on SSRN.

On Biologic Drugs, Obama’s 2016 Budget Violates the Provision the Administration Seeks in the Trans Pacific Partnership

[Mike Palmedo]  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. Click here for more.