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IP-Watch interns talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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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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    WHO Board Plan For Fake Medicines Mechanism Excludes Trade And IP

    Published on 28 January 2012 @ 1:20 am

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The World Health Organization Executive Board this week agreed to propose to the May World Health Assembly the establishment of a mechanism for international collaboration on counterfeit and substandard medical products, but with the exclusion of trade and intellectual property issues.

    The Executive Board resolution would “establish a new Member State mechanism for international collaboration among Member States, from a public health perspective, excluding trade and intellectual property considerations, regarding “substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products” in accordance with the goals, objectives and terms of reference annexed to the present resolution.”

    The next Assembly in May will decide on this resolution. The mechanism would be reviewed by the World Health Assembly after three years, and will submit a progress report after one year.

    The Executive Board resolution on “substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit medical products,” EB130.R13, is available here [pdf].

    Documents from 130th Executive Board meeting, held from 16-23 January, are available here.

    The resolution as proposed by the board has only one modification from the earlier draft version from the Working Group of Member States on Substandard/Spurious/Falsely-Labelled/Falsified/Counterfeit Medical Products, as established by decision WHA63(10) from 2010.

    The draft version urged member states to: “participate in and collaborate with the Member State mechanism referred to in operative paragraph 4” (which establishes the new member state mechanism). The Board added at the start of the sentence, “on a voluntary basis.” This was suggested by China, according to participants.

    Other elements of the resolution include a statement of the role of WHO in these issues, which is: “ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of medical products; in promoting access to affordable, quality, safe and efficacious medicines; and in supporting national drug regulatory authorities in this area, in particular in developing countries and least-developed countries.”

    It also declares that WHO should “continue to focus on and intensify its measures to make medical products more affordable, strengthening national regulatory authorities and health systems which includes national medicine policies, health risk management systems, sustainable financing, human resource development and reliable procurement and supply systems; and to enhance and support work on prequalification and promotion of generics, and efforts in rational selection and use of medical products. In each of these areas, WHO’s function should be: information sharing and awareness creation; norms and standards and technical assistance to countries on country situation assessment; national policy development; and capacity building, supporting product development and domestic production.”

    And it calls on WHO to increase its efforts to support members in “strengthening national and regional regulatory infrastructure and capacity.”

    A contentious issue around counterfeits has been the suspicion on the part of some developing countries that concerns about counterfeit and substandard medicines are being purposely confused with trade in legitimate generic medicines from those countries. Removing intellectual property and trade from WHO discussions likely minimises the possibility of confusion.

    Participants said a lack of agreement persisted during the Executive Board meeting over definitions and the WHO’s involvement in the International Medical Products Anti-Counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT).

    Meetings of the new mechanism would normally take place in Geneva, but could be held elsewhere. Argentina offered to host the first meeting after the WHA, according to participants. Regional groups will provide input as appropriate, according to the resolution.

    The resolution also places the provision of financial resources on member states.

    The report on the financial and administrative implications of this resolution, document EB130/122 Add.1, show that over three years (2012-2015) it would cost between US$ 3.56 million and US$4.84 million. This includes staff costs of $2.72- $4 million, and activities of $840,000. This would assume only one annual meeting of the mechanism. These costs were not within the approved 2012-2013 budget, and could not be implemented by existing staff. It would require two professional staff and one general services staff member.

    For 2012-2013, funds of $2.37-$3.23 million would be needed from voluntary contributions from interested governments, as it may not fit with donors, the analysis said.

    The working group agreed in October on the new mechanism (IPW, WHO, 1 November 2011).

    William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. WHO Member States Agree On Roadmap To Fight Poor Quality Medicines | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] Intellectual Property Watch article here. Related [...]


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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.

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

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