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Posts Tagged: "compulsory licensing"

Iancu and Kappos: TRIPS IP Waiver Proposal Will Kill More People Than It Saves

A webinar hosted on Tuesday, January 12, by The Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project featured former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Directors Andrei Iancu and David Kappos, as well as Duke University Professor of Law and former USPTO Administrator of the Office of External Affairs Arti Rai, discussing the proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive IP rights under the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement for certain COVID-19 technologies. While all three panelists agreed that the IP waiver discussion has become a distraction that will not solve the fundamental problems, Iancu and Kappos were especially passionate that the precedent set by the U.S. government’s decision to back the proposal could do very real harm, rather than good.

Iancu, Kilbride, Israel Separate Fact from Fiction During IPWatchdog LIVE Panel on TRIPS IP Waiver

On Monday of IPWatchdog LIVE in Dallas, a panel on “The TRIPS IP Waiver: Separating Fact & Fiction” was moderated by president and CEO of the PCT learning center and founding partner of Berenato & White, John White, and featured IP leaders Andrei Iancu, Patrick Kilbride, and Chris Israel. The Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) agreement is an international agreement among members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which sets minimum standards in the international rules governing intellectual property. In 2020, India and South Africa proposed a TRIPS Agreement waiver proposal that would temporarily waive intellectual property rights protections for technologies needed to prevent, contain, or treat COVID-19, including vaccines and vaccine-related products. The proposal has been hotly contested globally, but the Biden Administration said in May of this year that the United States would back it.

A Third Option: Limited IP Waiver Could Solve Our Pandemic Vaccine Problems

In the early days of the vaccination efforts, Americans were anxiously online trying to register for a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Reports of success at 1:30 am and 2:30 am made the rounds as new appointments dropped onto websites. Also common were stories of vaccine elitism and discussions of which vaccine is “the best.”  News reports continue to show a steady uptick in the percentage of vaccinated Americans. Elsewhere in the world though, the story is very different, and a darker picture is emerging. In Africa, many countries have vaccinated less than 2% of their population. While vaccine distribution is difficult in many regions of the developing world, this is a hurdle that medical assistance groups, such as Doctors Without Borders, are accustomed to handling. The challenges are known. What is most difficult in combating COVID-19 is obtaining the vaccines in the first place. Some argue that IP rights are the key problem and should be waived, while others claim they are the only solution and that waiver would be catastrophic. This article suggests a third option, somewhere between voluntary vaccine donation and a full waiver of IP rights, that may offer a way forward.

Calls for Compulsory Licensing and IP Waivers of COVID-19 Vaccines Ignore Technical Complexities

Though it is not over, it seems that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic may be in sight. A select group of countries has managed to bring vaccines to the market in record time. Take the United States, for example. At the time of this writing, three U.S. companies have managed to produce vaccines that received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The intellectual property that underlies these products quite literally has life-saving potential. This achievement no doubt represents a significant feat in human ingenuity, but it also presents a ripe issue in the intellectual property space — namely, compulsory licensing and intellectual property (IP) waivers. Some feel that the cost of sharing this information represents a bold degradation of the intellectual property system. In developing countries, however, the lack of vaccine availability is proving particularly difficult to manage.

Why Innovation Would Survive a COVID-19 TRIPS Waiver

Intellectual property protection has played an important role in this pandemic. As some have pointed out, without legal protection for innovative ideas, there may not have been such a rapid response to the pandemic – both in terms of testing/ treatment and, most recently, vaccines. Companies like Moderna, in conjunction with research and funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have spent a decade developing key technology that enabled quicker vaccine development than ever before. Without some intellectual property protections in place that provide strong financial incentives to invest in new ideas, innovation like this may never have come to light. Nevertheless, India and South Africa initiated a proposal in October that is gaining traction among like-minded World Trade Organization (WTO) members. This proposal would temporarily suspend certain provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS Agreement) for products related to COVID-19, including vaccines. What began with a handful of nations has now reached a majority, with 57 national sponsors of the proposal, and over 60 WTO members who are in support.

Gutting Patents Won’t Speed the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

India and South Africa recently urged the World Trade Organization to suspend intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The claim is that this would allow developing countries to manufacture “cheap” COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines, hastening the end to the pandemic—at least, that’s what proponents claim. They’re wrong. Dangerously wrong. Gutting IP protections won’t make COVID-19 medications more readily available but it will set a terrible precedent that will chill future medical innovation.

India and South Africa’s COVID Vaccine Proposal to the WTO: Why Patent Waiver Must Be Considered Over Compulsory Licensing

While coronavirus spent the majority of 2020 wreaking havoc on earth, pharmaceutical companies have been busy at work trying to invent a vaccine to combat it. Several companies, such as Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, have competed neck and neck to be the first to deliver a cure to the world. Renowned pharmaceutical companies have been successful in developing the vaccine, which will be protected under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS).

Property Rights and State AGs’ Assault on Remdesivir: A Conservative Perspective

By now, everyone in the IP arena has heard about the demands of more than 30 state and territorial attorneys general (AGs) regarding the promising COVID treatment remdesivir. These AGs seem to disrespect the exclusive rights of limited duration that patents afford. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) led a bipartisan effort getting colleagues to write the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and call for what’s tantamount to eminent domain on intellectual property. To a conservative who works on IP matters, this demand in and of itself is troubling. Bedrock conservative principles include property rights, free enterprise and the rule of law. The AGs advocate government’s abrogation of all three of these foundational principles.

International Approaches to Accelerating Innovation and Access in the Pandemic

In the wake of COVID-19, government officials around the world face unprecedented decisions about when and to what extent they should reopen their respective societies before effective anti-viral medications or vaccines have been developed, necessary regulatory approvals obtained, and those solutions are manufactured for public use. Fundamentally, such decisions will require a delicate balance between protecting public health and facilitating economic growth, which, as we have all been reminded this year, are deeply intertwined.

Patent Rights and Wrongs in the COVID-19 Pandemic: EU and U.S. Approaches to Compulsory Licensing

As governments around the globe fight the COVID-19 outbreak, pharmaceutical companies race to develop a vaccine and potentially secure a patent for it. To speed the process, much of that effort builds on known drugs for other diseases. The World Economic Forum reports that 70 potential vaccines are currently in development around the world. According to a BBC report, research is in progress on more than 150 additional drugs globally, with many pre-existing drugs being trialed for potential usefulness in combatting COVID-19. Those which can are giving it their best shot—for people as well as profit. In the wake of this COVID-19 vaccine and patent sprint, questions arise concerning affordable and universal access: will governments, especially poorer ones, be able to secure affordable access to a vaccine if and when one becomes available? Can a patent owner actually be forced to license a COVID-19 vaccine for the benefit of the greater good? The answers are likely yes to both, depending where you are.

The Moral Dimension of U.S. Patents

Whenever a national emergency sweeps through, the question of patents is tangentially swiped at in the context of whether any patents will have to be “broken”, or compulsory government licensing regime initiated, to eliminate any roadblocks to a national or global solution. And, just for good measure, another rock or two is hurled at “patents” using the common epithets: monopolistic, greed of patent holders, profiteers, etc. None of it is true; but that doesn’t stop those who are anti-patent from trying.

Don’t Ignore the Flashing Caution Lights in the Drug Pricing Debate

Trying to rationally address hot button issues in an election year is always a dangerous proposition. That’s particularly true as we approach what promises to be one of the nastiest political years in history. Because so much time will be taken up campaigning, for legislation to pass it needs to get moving soon. It shouldn’t be long before we know whether anything meaningful will happen with attempts to reduce the costs of drugs, where intellectual property rights are in the crosshairs. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that, if action is taken, it’s based on careful consideration of all the related issues rather than raw emotion. While this may be wishful thinking, several thoughtful new articles contain important warnings against jumping down some of the beckoning gopher holes. Critics of the Bayh-Dole Act, which provides the incentives of the patent ownership to commercialize federally funded inventions, claim that the government is developing drugs from its R&D and giving them to companies that then make “obscene profits.”Despite numerous rebuttals, this red herring is continually deployed as the justification for the government setting the price of drugs coming out of public/private sector partnerships.

The Katy Perry Verdict Proves Our Music Copyright Laws Need a Tune Up

Our music copyright law is out of tune in several ways. The recent multi-million-dollar jury verdict this summer against Katy Perry and Capitol Records illustrates a lack of harmony between music creation and the copyright law that is designed to “protect” it. According to a California jury, Perry’s runaway smash hit “Dark Horse” infringed a Christian rap “Joyful Noise” by the rapper, Flame. The jury awarded Flame nearly $2.8 million in damages. If that verdict withstands an appeal, it will be a dark day for the music industry. I fear the clouds are already brewing. The verdict exposes some major structural problems with how our music copyright law works.  

Seeds of demise were sown when SCOTUS removed exclusivity from the patent bargain

With the next Supreme Court term beginning in a few weeks we all need to come to terms with the fact that the U.S. has a compulsory licensing system, which is truly ironic. Trade missions, trade representatives, and governmental organizations travel the world preaching about the importance of a strong intellectual property system and how that starts with strong patent rights that are not subject to the whims and fancy of compulsory licensing. America should practice what it preaches. For some time, the United States hasn’t had a property rights-based patent system. That was merely confirmed in Oil States with the Supreme Court calling patents a government franchise, but the seeds were sown over 12 years ago when the Court decided eBay and removed exclusivity from the patent bargain.

Compulsory Licensing for Medicare Drugs– Another Bad Idea from Capitol Hill

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) recently introduced the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act of 2018. Lest the title confuse you, by “competitive licensing” Rep. Doggett means compulsory licensing anytime a company declines to sell their drug for whatever price the Secretary of Health and Human Services  cares to offer during “Medicare negotiations” where the government holds all the cards. Past attempts to impose artificial “reasonable pricing” requirements on developers of government supported inventions did not result in cheaper drugs. A study titled Compulsory Licensing Often Did Not Produce Lower Prices For Antiretrovirals Compared to International Procurement found that resulting drug prices were often higher than they would have been under a more cooperative approach.