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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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    欧盟有关知识产权的强硬规定被视为对贫困国家医药获得的威胁

    Published on 24 February 2009 @ 12:38 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    布鲁塞尔 – 全球公共卫生活跃分子声称,欧盟执意要在一系列自由贸易协议中添加有关医药专利的强硬规定将会妨害发展中国家获得医药。

    作为与印度、哥伦比亚、秘鲁及东盟正在举行的贸易会谈的一部分,欧盟官员已经提出如下建议:知识产权制度应该更富有活力,使制药商从中获益。为此,在授权进行一种药物仿制之前,有关国家的中央政府管理当局将被长期阻止使用由一家拥有医药专利公司提供的数据。

    根据欧洲委员会提出的建议,在哥伦比亚和秘鲁,此种“数据排他性”条款将适用长达11年时间。
    哥伦比亚一个名叫“Misión Salud”基金会的会长吉曼•赫尔衮(Germán Holguín)认为,这一规定“对于我们地区的医药获得和卫生将会产生灾难性影响。”

    他预测说,如果这一建议被作为一个自由贸易协定的部分被执行,那么安第斯共同体各国的便宜医药的供应将会严重减少。他警告说,由于仿制药的价格比商标药平均便宜4倍甚至有时便宜高达35倍,因此任何限制仿制药的措施将在一个普遍贫困的地区“产生可怕后果”。

    “欧盟与我们这些国家之间的协定会造成巨大的痛苦与生命损失,”他补充说。“因为问题本来就这么严重,所以我们不要对此有错误认识。我们没有期望欧洲委员会竟然出台如此怪诞和让人生厌的待遇。”

    “我们没有期望欧洲委员会竟然出台如此怪诞和让人生厌的待遇。” – 一个哥伦比亚卫生保健工人说。

    赫尔衮认为,欧洲委员会正就知识产权谋求比美国还要苛刻的标准,近些年,美国希望在与拉美国家的自由贸易协定中写入有关知识产权的苛刻条款。2007年在哥伦比亚完成的研究预测,美国贸易谈判代表推动的协定方案将把医药价格至少提高46%,并使哥伦比亚的公共卫生年开支增加10亿美元。

    对欧洲委员会新建议进行详细分析显示,这些建议超出了世界贸易组织《与贸易有关的知识产权协议》的规定。

    来自与巴塞罗那庞培法布拉(Pompeu Fabra)大学的夏威尔•瑟巴(Xavier Seuba) 撰写了“分析”(the analysis [pdf])一文指出,《与贸易有关的知识产权协议》特别授权各国中央政府有自由决定知识产权如何适用于医药的权力。他说,与此相对照,欧洲委员会的建议力主“在知识产权方面,各国采取和实施的措施和行动必须有一个严格和极其精确的框架。”

    瑟巴还指出,随着欧盟实施与世界各国签订自由贸易协定时力图纳入知识产权的规范,海关当局扣押药品的事件将更加频繁。他对此表示担忧。

    上个月就发生了扣押药品事件:鹿特丹港口管理当局阻止氯沙坦(“Losartan”)药品的货物交付,而该药用于治疗高血压,是从印度发往巴西的货物。尽管氯沙坦是一种合法仿制药,但是在荷兰一家未名公司声称拥有该药的专利后却发生了药品被扣押的事件。

    瑟巴认为,欧盟官员正与哥伦比亚和秘鲁商签的自由贸易协定草案将使制药公司在许多情况下能够妨碍仿制药的运输。他说,欧盟再次谋求《与贸易有关的知识产权协议》之外的权力。《与贸易有关的知识产权协议》主要是把扣押行动限制于假冒伪劣货物,而不是针对仿制药。

    “欧洲向安第斯国家提出的建议将使专利权人能够阻碍那些海关区内被怀疑侵犯任何知识产权的货物的进口、出口、再出口及进出,”瑟巴在2月17日举行的一次欧洲议会会议上指出。“这大大扩展了所要求的措施,从而赋予权利人巨大的权力,这些人将能够以声称推定认为侵犯一项知识产权而阻碍竞争对手的货物运输。”

    欧盟与哥伦比亚和秘鲁的贸易会谈发起于2006年。安第斯共同体的另外两个国家即玻利维亚和厄瓜多尔原来也参加会谈。然而,后两国的左翼政府对欧洲委员会倡导的措施表达了不安。此后在2008年末,欧洲委员会宣布只继续与哥伦比亚和秘鲁进行谈判。

    玻利维亚总统埃沃•莫拉莱斯指出,欧盟的决定将削弱安第斯共同体的地区一体化。在上月发给欧洲委员会的一封信中,莫拉莱斯说,与其实现与欧盟贸易的完全自由化,玻利维亚更希望签署一项不太严格的商业协定,该协定“不会限制我们确定我国有关重大问题诸如投资、服务、知识产权和公共采购的政策。”

    欧盟贸易官员瑟奇•拉•贾尔(Serge Le Gal)否认如下说法,即欧洲委员会正在努力在安第斯共同体不同成员国之间打下楔子。哥伦比亚政府采取的主要是新自由主义经济政策,而拉丁美洲还有一些具有较为社会主义倾向的政府。在暗示到这两类政府之间的政治紧张关系时,他问道:“这难道是欧洲委员会的错误吗?我们必须做出选择,必须前进。”

    欧盟对亚洲的建议

    欧洲委员会为其与印度和东盟10国谈判准备的建议有着与针对秘鲁和哥伦比亚建议中关于数据排他性类似的条款。就安第斯共同体来说,欧洲委员会所希望实行的排他性条款的确切期限仍未明确规定。点击这里参看欧盟建议(EU proposal)。

    人道主义团体无疆界医师组织的亚历山大•赫姆伯(Alexandra Heumber)警告说,任何企图限制仿制药的措施将会伤害到那些需要抗逆转录病毒药物的人,而这是用于治疗艾滋病的主要药物。

    她补充说,因为我们知道病人会产生对标准ARVs药物的抗体,所以医生不得不开出一些新的“二线”治疗方案。在泰国,这些新类型的药品比最常用的ARVs药物要贵出22倍的高价。

    “像泰国这样的中等收入国家陷入了两边受敌的陷阱,”她说。“因为它们具备制造能力,所以他们遭到美国政府支持的制药公司的强大压力,迫使其加强知识产权保护。”

    “与此同时,”她补充说。“它们被视为新兴市场,富有的精英团体代表着有利可图的市场,因此它们被排除在为最不发达国家适用的有差别价格政策之外。然而,现实情况却是,艾滋病从本质上来说是穷人的疾病。这些国家的公共卫生服务无法支付制药公司要求的高价。”

    制药产业和协会欧洲联合会(The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations)是一个代表商标药制造商的组织团体。当有人请该团体发表看法时,它没有做出反应。

    [最新消息:南方中心对非洲国家发出警告:与欧盟签署经济伙伴关系协议可能得不偿失,该中心表示可为会谈提供建议。此外,南非贸易法中心(Trade Law Centre for South Africa)报道说,欧盟贸易专员卡特琳娜•阿什顿(Catherine Ashton)本周将抵达博茨瓦纳参加贸易会谈。]

     


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