Posts Tagged: "WTO"

Big Tobacco Heads to Court Over Cigarette Plain Packaging Laws

The British legislation, aimed at curbing demand for cigarettes, requires that all cigarettes be sold in uniform packs with all branding, including colors, logos and other trademarks, removed. Companies are only permitted to print the brand’s name, in a uniform font, size, and location, on the pack, alongside health warnings and deterrent images. Tobacco companies have indicated that they will be left with no choice but to challenge the regulations.

Chinese support of indigenous innovation is problematic for foreign IP owners

The definition of indigenous innovation is “enhancing original innovation through co-innovation and re-innovation based on the assimilation of imported technologies.” Those familiar with China’s joint venture rules for foreign businesses, which require them to transfer some patent licensing powers to Chinese companies in order to enter their market, are wary of statements like this that essentially support a siphoning of foreign intellectual property.

A NAFTA Challenge to Canada’s Patent Utility Doctrine is Necessary

Canada is not the first country that comes to mind as a threat to U.S. trade. After all, Canada is our largest goods trading partner, with $632 billion in total goods traded bilaterally during 2013. . . Over the last decade U.S. pharmaceutical companies have faced trade challenges in the form of a narrow interpretation of patent eligibility in Canada. Canada’s patent utility provisions are a serious threat to U.S. innovative industries, and therefore are legitimately being raised in NAFTA’s dispute settlement system.

Compulsory Licenses Won’t Solve a Healthcare Crisis

Over the past two years, India has invalidated or otherwise attacked patents on 15 drugs produced by innovative pharmaceutical firms. While the claim is that this promotes lower prices and expanded access to medicines, in truth this is industrial policy not health policy. The clear beneficiaries are local generic manufacturers, not Indian patients. The majority of Indians do not need Nexavar, or any of the other patented drugs being considered for compulsory licenses. They need doctors, nurses, clinics, and hospitals. Put simply, a functioning healthcare infrastructure. Basic health statistics clearly illustrate the real problem, India currently accounts for one-third of the deaths of pregnant women and close to a quarter of all child deaths.[3] The battle for health in India will not be won with compulsory licenses. It will be won with investments of resources on the ground in local communities.

India’s IPR Policies Jeopardize its U.S. Trade Benefits

Over the past few months, a groundswell of voices in the U.S. business community and U.S. Government has arisen to express frustration with India’s IPR policies. In May, USTR’s annual Special 301 Report highlighted India for the 24th consecutive year, citing growing challenges to IPR protection which raise “serious questions regarding the future condition of the innovation climate in India across multiple sectors and disciplines.” In June, the Alliance for Fair Trade with India was launched by over a dozen leading U.S. business associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, to bring attention to India’s discriminatory trade practices, including the erosion of IPR in India. In July, Vice President Joe Biden cited IPR protection as an obstacle to expanded U.S.-India trade. Following a hearing on how India’s industrial policies are hurting U.S. companies, House Energy & Commerce Trade Subcommittee Chair Lee Terry (R-NE) introduced legislation in September to block duty-free access to U.S. markets for countries without adequate protection for intellectual property.

Protecting Innovation is not ‘Satanic Genocide’: Intellectual Property Policy in South Africa

South Africa currently faces a stark choice between protecting and incentivizing innovation and stymying life-saving therapeutic breakthroughs. Policymakers must choose between shoring up the protections that encourage the development of medicines that enhance and extend life, or sabotaging innovation through the weakening of the patent system. South Africa is purported to have the highest number of people living with HIV in the world, people who have the most to gain from breakthrough therapies. Innovative medicines have contributed to the 85 percent decline in the death rate from HIV/AIDS since 1995. The benefits of future medicines will become a reality only if these medicines are incentivized and developed. Strong, effective IP protection is essential to that process.

Global IP Reaction to India’s Rejection of the Novartis Drug Patent

India’s booming $26 billion generic drug industry and public health sector rejoiced over the Indian Supreme Court’s recent decision to reject a patent filed by the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Novartis for their landmark leukemia drug, Gleevec. Novartis received a patent for an earlier variation of Gleevec in 40 countries including Russia, China, and Taiwan. However, India’s troubled IP regime applies an ambiguous standard to patentability, the so-called “enhanced efficacy” for new forms of known substances. India only applies their “efficacy” requirement to the chemical and pharmaceutical drug industry as a protectionist measure. India codified the efficacy requirement in section 3(d) of their patent code and this may contravene with the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) as set forth by the World Trade Organization (WTO).