SUBSCRIBE TODAY!
Subscribing entitles a reader to complete stories on all topics released as they happen, special features, confidential documents and access to the complete, searchable story archive online back to 2004.
IP-Watch Summer Interns

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

Inside Views

Submit ideas to info [at] ip-watch [dot] ch!

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.

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.


Latest Comments
  • “We want everybody to agree on the science telling... »
  • So this is how we mankind will become extinct? No ... »

  • For IPW Subscribers

    A directory of IP delegates in Geneva. Read more>

    A guide to Geneva-based public health and intellectual property organisations. Read More >


    Monthly Reporter

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter, published from 2004 to January 2011, is a 16-page monthly selection of the most important, updated stories and features, plus the People and News Briefs columns.

    The Intellectual Property Watch Monthly Reporter is available in an online archive on the IP-Watch website, available for IP-Watch Subscribers.

    Access the Monthly Reporter Archive >

    The WHO’s Final Sprint Toward An International Convention On R&D

    Published on 20 April 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    An international convention on research and development for neglected diseases has never been so closely within reach. A World Health Organization expert group is recommending the implementation of a legally binding instrument to secure new sources of funding to spur health research in areas where the current system has failed.

    In the run-up to the 65th annual World Health Assembly (WHA), scheduled to take place on 21-26 May, the Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Financing and Coordination (CEWG) presented its recommendations in a recently released report, “Research and development to meet health needs in developing countries: strengthening global financing and coordination.” The report is available here.

    Released on 5 April, the publication was made available well ahead of the WHA in order to allow delegates enough time to digest the more than 200-page document. In addition, the WHO will hold a briefing session on 27 April for Geneva-based permanent missions. CEWG Chair Prof. John-Arne Røttingen, and Vice Chair Prof. Claudia Inês Chamas, will present the group’s recommendations and field any questions. Due to high demand, this briefing will exceptionally be open to all official WHO observers.

    The report’s main recommendation is to initiate the process of implementing an international convention on R&D. The report states, “[T]he time has now come for WHO Member States to begin a process leading to the negotiation of a binding agreement on R&D relevant to the health needs of developing countries, and this would be under Article 19 of the WHO Constitution.”

    In the history of the WHO, Article 19, which provides the WHA with the authority to adopt conventions, has only been implemented once with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Zafar Mirza, coordinator of the department of WHO Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, who coordinated the secretariat’s support of the CEWG, said the group’s recommendation is significant.

    “Indeed there is a mandate and there is a precedence,” he told Intellectual Property Watch. “But one also has to appreciate that this mandate has only been used once in the past 60 years, which speaks to the importance of this issue.”

    Debate to Come

    Some of the other recommendations include making research that addresses the health needs of developing countries more available in the public domain or by appropriate open licensing approaches through, for example, patent pools. Additionally, the report recommends that countries and philanthropic organisations increase their funding and specifically suggests that all countries should commit at least 0.01 percent of gross domestic product to research to develop health technologies for use in developing countries.

    Røttingen said that it was important to define the contribution rate. He told Intellectual Property Watch, “Helping to develop knowledge, by financing it, is a contribution toward a global public good. We decided to propose a specific number both to avoid the problem of free riders and to set clear expectations in terms of commitment from the start. This rate of contribution would mean a doubling of existing resources.”

    The group’s outcome is yet another key milestone in a 10-year history of work within the WHO on this issue. Prior to the CEWG, established by the WHA in 2010, there were other working groups, commissions and reports seeking sustainable financing for needed R&D. As noted in the publication’s introduction, the process may be reaching a final phase: “The report from this Consultative Expert Working Group seeks to bring this longrunning debate, if not to closure, to a head.”

    The CEWG is made up of 21 regionally representative experts from a wide range of backgrounds, including research, government and industry. In developing their recommendations, the expert group assessed about 100 proposals (IPW, WHO, 5 July 2011). The CEWG was established by the 63rd WHA in 2010, under Resolution 63.28 [pdf] with the objective of submitting a final report this 65th WHA.

    Røttingen said: “Ideally, I hope that member states will see that what we have been doing has been rigorous analysis and that this diverse group has agreed on key recommendations based on the proposals and ideas put to us. And hopefully they will see that the best way to get countries to implement the recommendations and commit to contributing to this urgent issue is through a formal agreement.”

    Ultimately, the way forward will be decided by the WHA, the WHO members’ decision-making body. In light of the CEWG’s report, member states will discuss the recommendations and decide on a resolution on how to advance the issue following the Assembly.

    “One major challenge in a process like this is that if you are not able to achieve consensus on recommendations or at least the process to achieve such consensus, what will be the way forward?” Røttingen said. “I hope that if constituencies do not agree, they will suggest clear alternatives. We do not want to end with the status quo, because all stakeholders agree the current situation is just not viable.”

    Positive Reactions

    Most public health experts agree that intellectual property rights and sales do not provide the incentive needed for investment to develop medicines, vaccines, and other technologies needed to treat the diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations. The Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) Access Campaign website provides a long list of examples of “how the current model of R&D is failing patients in the developing world.” To name a few, there have been almost no new drugs developed to treat tuberculosis in decades; there is no test widely available to diagnose infants that have HIV/AIDS in poor countries; and there is no simple test that can detect Chagas disease.

    MSF is one of several non-governmental organisations to support the CEWG’s recommendations. Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) compiled a list of views on the report with statements from several public health stakeholders. Michelle Childs, head of policy and advocacy at MSF’s Access Campaign, calls on governments to commit to the convention.

    “The needs are clear: our medical teams in the field need better drugs, diagnostics and vaccines that are developed for use in resource-limited settings,” Childs said. “The expert report makes a clear and compelling case that we need to move away from a piecemeal approach, and towards a cohesive approach to funding, coordination and priority-setting to address the gaps in research and development through a convention.”

    The intergovernmental South Centre issued a statement that “the negotiation and adoption of an international instrument that promotes pharmaceutical R&D that addresses the needs of developing countries would be a key element for the implementation of the GSPA-PHI,” referring to the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property agreed at the 63rd WHA.

    “If successful,” the South Centre said, “this could be the most important achievement of WHO in the area of medicines since its creation.”

    Although the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Association (IFPMA) did not yet wish to comment specifically on the report, Mario Ottiglio, associate director of Public Affairs & Global Health Policy at IFPMA, said, “Discussions of new approaches and mechanisms for stimulating R&D into diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries should account for the complexity and ongoing evolution of the current pharmaceutical innovation paradigm.”

    “There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to stimulating R&D for these diseases,” Ottiglio added. “To continue meeting patient needs worldwide, several mechanisms yielding concrete health technology outputs should be integrated to drive a complete cycle of research, development and access to new medicines.”

    KEI will continue advancing the conversation with a panel entitled, “An Essential Health and Biomedical Research and Development Treaty” on 25 April during the Global Forum for Health Research 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Another briefing will be held for member states and official WHO observers on 22 May, the second day of the WHA, where the CEWG chair and vice chair will again present report recommendations and respond to questions.

    Related Intellectual Property Watch articles are here, here, and here.

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

     


    Leave a Reply

    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.

     

     
    Your IP address is 23.20.19.131