Undermining Innovation in Health Care is Bad for Patients
Even if one disregards the categorical distinctions between over-ruling the ITC order and foreign compulsory licenses, there are differences in the specifics as well. For example, the Administration’s decision rested heavily on the fact that the patent being violated was part of an industry standard. A patent that is critical to an industry standard can convey market power (and possibly monopoly power) on that patent holder. The Administration focused on and justified its decision based on avoiding abuse of that market power. Patents on medicine are completely different. There is rigorous competition, new medicines can be invented to treat the same malady, and there is no need for the types of industry standards that are more common in electronics. But it is those health care patents that foreign governments are undermining.