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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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    10 Years Of TRIPS And Public Health: An Anniversary To Celebrate?

    Published on 21 November 2011 @ 11:03 am

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    It has been 10 years since the World Trade Organization adopted the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. The declaration highlighting the public health aspects of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreed at the 2001 WTO ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar was considered a milestone in ensuring greater access to medicines for all.

    One decade after the declaration’s adoption, the intergovernmental South Centre and non-governmental Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) held a panel event at the World Intellectual Property Organization on 14 November to review the extent to which the intellectual property and licensing flexibilities recognised in the declaration have helped developing and least developed countries gain access to essential medicines.

    The Doha TRIPS and Public Health Declaration, available here, highlighted existing flexibilities and sovereign rights available to developing countries under TRIPS.

    South Centre Executive Director Martin Khor moderated the session, entitled, “Ten Years of the Doha Declaration: The State of Implementation.” The South Centre also published in November a policy paper by the same name.

    Khor opened the session with a question: “Is the 10 years of Doha an anniversary to celebrate?” Argentinian law professor Carlos Correa, special advisor on trade and IP at the South Centre, was the first speaker to take the floor.

    Limited Implementation

    While recognising that the Doha Declaration was an achievement, Correa emphasised that the “extent of use of compulsory licences has been quite limited.” Despite the recognition under the declaration that all member states have the right “to grant compulsory licences and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licences are granted,” he said. Correa discussed several obstacles blocking more developing countries from taking advantage of this flexibility.

    In particular, he mentioned “the lack of sufficient information regarding the range of flexibilities,” citing observations made in the recently released External Review of WIPO Technical Assistance in the Area of Cooperation for Development [pdf]. “The review team found that when discussing international treaties, the orientation of plans was toward promoting accession to international treaties administered by WIPO,” Correa said. “While the importance of flexibilities was noted, practical and proactive advice on how to use such opportunities was limited.”

    He said that another challenge developing countries are facing is bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) that enhance developed countries’ intellectual property enforcement rights. “Paradoxically,” he said, “many of these enhancing enforcement FTAs actually cite the Doha Declaration.”

    Another speaker, Michelle Childs, policy and advocacy director of the Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines at Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders), said that “Doha gave political recognition for first time that intellectual property and trade rules had a negative effect on access to medicines.” However, she argued that although Doha brought public health needs into the IP equation, today’s urgent global health challenges illustrate where Doha falls short.

    “There is a need to bridge the gap between the standard of care received in wealthy countries and that in the developing world,” she said. There are still many grave challenges associated with HIV and AIDS today, especially in developing countries. Childs said that MSF is seeing growing patient resistance to antiretrovirals and that there “is an urgent need to secure access to expensive second- and third-line regimens in developing countries.”

    New R&D Incentives

    Beyond recognising the significance and limitations of Doha, many of the speakers also made suggestions for improving access to medicines in the future. Director of KEI, James Love, suggested that obstacles to access go beyond the legal parameters of the question and that the political forces at play have a greater bearing on limitations to access. He argued that a more fundamental change is needed in terms of the development of medicines.

    “You have to deal with how you pay for innovation because until you have done that, you will never really have dealt with the access question,” he said. “In our opinion, they are completely interlinked.”

    As a way forward, Love suggested an alternative reward mechanism for more equitable R&D funding. KEI, MSF, the Third World Network – which also participated in the panel event – as well as two other organisations have submitted a joint proposal called “An Essential Health and Biomedical R&D Treaty” [pdf] to a WHO working group on financing research and development for diseases particularly afflicting poor populations. The Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG) held its third meeting from 16-19 November and held an open briefing on the results of its work to date.

    Mandated to “examine R&D financing and coordination proposals for diseases that principally affect developing countries,” the group recommended a binding convention for R&D related to diseases affecting developing countries. The CEWG plans to release a report in the first quarter of 2012 that will provide details on convention modalities.

    A National Perspective

    Other panellists included José Estanislau do Amaral from the permanent mission of Brazil to the WTO and other economic organisations in Geneva, and Sanya Reid Smith, legal officer from the Third World Network.

    In his prepared remarks, available here [doc], do Amaral described the TRIPS agreement as a victory for developed countries on behalf of a small number of industries, and said the Doha Declaration was a landmark in clarifying the relationship between IP and public health, but that the “jury is probably still out on whether or not the declaration has fulfilled all the expectations placed on it.”

    He criticised developed countries for continuing to push the standard of IP protection ever higher through bilateral and plurilateral agreements, even when implementation of the TRIPS agreement is still underway.

    “What remains paradoxically odd, however, is that the apparent winners of the TRIPS negotiations do not appear to be satisfied with the outcome,” do Amaral said. “There seems to be no end, in brief, to the drive for ever more stringent rules to advance the protection of intellectual property.”

    He detailed Brazil’s successful – and only – experience with a compulsory licence for public health in 2007, and said it will have saved the national AIDS programme nearly $240 million by the time the patent on the antiretroviral drug Efavirenz expires in 2012.

    Khor closed the session with an answer to his opening question. “The Doha Declaration is a landmark and we should celebrate it. And we know that much more work needs to be done.”

    William New contributed to this report.

    Rachel Marusak Hermann may be reached at info@ip-watch.org.

     

    Comments

    1. Doha+10: MSF Asks, What’s Next For TRIPS And Health? | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] Ecology International (KEI), repeated a message that he delivered in a KEI event last week (IPW, Public Health, 21 November 2011). “The sustainability of access at the end of the day is going to come back to the issue how you [...]

    2. Doha+10: MSF Asks, What’s Next For TRIPS And Health? | Center for Health Human Rights & Development says:

      [...] Ecology International (KEI), repeated a message that he delivered in a KEI event last week (IPW, Public Health, 21 November 2011). “The sustainability of access at the end of the day is going to come back to the issue how you [...]

    3. 10 Years Of TRIPS And Public Health: An Anniversary To Celebrate? | Center for Health Human Rights & Development says:

      [...] Source: http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/2011/11/21/10-years-of-trips-and-public-health-an-anniversary-to-cele… [...]

    4. International Health Policies » IHP News 145 – Has health aid failed to mitigate out-of-pocket expenditure in developing countries? says:

      [...] Property Watch also looks back on 10 years of TRIPS and Public [...]


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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.

    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.

     

     
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