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5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

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9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


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    Rapid Rise In African Anti-Counterfeiting Efforts Led By Developed Nations

    Published on 9 December 2008 @ 4:36 pm

    Intellectual Property Watch

    By Nick Wadhams for Intellectual Property Watch
    NAIROBI, KENYA – Amid fears that huge quantities of counterfeit medicines and pesticides are pouring into Africa, the international law enforcement agency INTERPOL is leading the way to invest more effort and money to bring authorities up to speed on the threat faced by those who depend on the imports, from hospital patients to pharmacists to farmers.

    The programmes include OASIS-Africa, an initiative funded by the German foreign ministry that aims to help law enforcement agencies in countries up and down the continent to crack down on international crime. Among the first of the OASIS anti-counterfeiting moves was Operation Mamba, a police action in Uganda and Tanzania in September and October that led to the seizure of more than 100 kinds of medical products, including anti-malarial pills, multivitamins, skin medicines and heart drugs.

    Four pharmacies in Tanzania were shut down; in Uganda, police are investigating 38 shops on suspicion that they are working illegally.

    “IP crimes, especially those which have a direct impact on the wellbeing of millions of people, are transnational crimes that need a coordinated and focussed response,” OASIS Director Giuliano Zaccardelli said at a Nairobi conference on intellectual property issues held last month.

    INTERPOL is investing more effort and attention to Africa as the staggering extent of the counterfeiting problem on the continent becomes clearer. While precise numbers are difficult to come by, the World Health Organization believes that 30 percent of drugs sold in developing countries are counterfeit; in some parts of Africa, that number could be as high as 90 percent.

    That is resulting in possibly hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. The pressing need to counter that threat was part of the reason for the Nairobi conference. Ronald Noble, the secretary general of INTERPOL, told the conference that counterfeit drugs are believed the reason behind 200,000 of the 1 million deaths that result from malaria each year.

    “And that is only the figure for malaria – we may never really know the untold lives that could be saved if all counterfeit drugs were eliminated,” Noble told the conference.

    The counterfeit drug trade is only growing, and in Africa, where corruption is rife, the sale of unregulated medicines is particularly troublesome. Because poverty is so endemic, people are desperate to find the cheapest medicine possible. And because salaries are so low, customs agents and police often take part in the trade.

    On Tuesday, for example, the international corruption watchdog Transparency International planned to release its 2008 “Bribe Payers Index,” in which it was expected to announce that the medical care and pharmaceutical sectors were most prone to corruption.

    Warnings of Overreaching Anti-Counterfeit Efforts

    There are concerns from some non-governmental organisations, however, that efforts to crack down on counterfeiting in some African countries will impede the import of generic but legitimate drugs to treat ailments such as HIV/AIDS.

    In Kenya, for example, the non-governmental group Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) has warned that a proposed counterfeiting bill includes a definition of counterfeit drugs that is broad enough to ban generics. Passing the bill could seriously hinder Kenyans’ access to cheap drugs.

    “The consequences on access to life-saving medicines such as the antiretrovirals nevirapine or lamivudine, for example, both patented in Kenya, and on the sustainability of AIDS and other treatment programmes that rely on generic production or importation would be devastating,” MSF said in a statement in October.

    Counterfeiters Shifting Tactics

    In the meantime, experts also say that counterfeiters have come to focus on another means of making cash: fake pesticides and other chemicals for farming. The agrochemical industry fears that African farmers are poorly educated about the potential problem, and do not know that what they are buying might be fake.

    Failed crops would have devastating effects in East Africa, where local people get much of their diet from subsistence farming and national economies rely on exports such as coffee, flowers, tea and vegetables for revenue.

    “Because there has been so much investigation on counterfeit medicine, I’m seeing a trend from the bad guys to move over to bad products that are less easy to find,” D’Arcy Quinn, international director for anti-counterfeiting at CropLife International, said in an interview. “One of the great ways to do it is pesticides because vegetables don’t complain.”

    “It’s a lot like medicine, it’s a very easy product to counterfeit,” said Quinn. “The farmers at this point don’t think the reason their product is going bad is because this stuff is counterfeit, so we have to start educating them.”

    Fake pesticides were responsible for a failed coffee crop in Kenya 10 years ago. And the use of counterfeit or unregulated agrochemical has become so severe that the European Union has warned it could ban agricultural imports from Tanzania because tests revealed that the products’ pesticides levels were “all over the map,” said one agriculture industry representative with knowledge of the debate, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    “If that happens, you can imagine the impact on the economy,” the source said.

    That has led international anti-counterfeiting advocates to focus their work on making sure governments realise just how much counterfeit drugs cost them – in taxes, failed crops, and human lives.

    In Kenya, for example, the National Quality Control Laboratories concluded that counterfeit drugs – sometimes nothing more than chalk pills or bottles filled with water – accounted for $130 million in annual sales.

    “One specific focus of these training programmes is to show the adverse effect on their economy and their people, until they understand that this is harming them,” Brad Huther, senior advisor at the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center, told Intellectual Property Watch.

    “What we’re learning is that the more they understand why it’s in their interest to promote strong engagement and anti-counterfeiting activities, only then do you see the kind of radical change in enforcement along their borders.”

    There are fears too that the situation will only get worse in Africa as its nations build ties with China, where up to 75 percent of the world’s counterfeit drugs and pesticides are believed to originate. For the last several years, the Chinese government and Chinese companies have signed numerous deals with the leaders of African nations to build roads, import goods or mine natural resources. As those supply chains open up wider, experts fear that more counterfeits will follow.

    “The Chinese have taken the short-term approach of saying, ‘It will take us a long time to fix this problem,’” said Huther. “But I’ve been hearing ‘Give us more time’ for five years now and I’ve seen no sign of significant improvement in China.”

    Nick Wadhams may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

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