WHO Paper: How To Guard Against Tobacco Companies – And Trade Law

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The World Health Organization has published a paper that explains to policymakers and others how to take measures to protect public health against tobacco while staying within the bounds of international trade and investment law, under intense industry pressure. Key aspects of the report deal with intellectual property rights policy, as it relates to international trade.

The report is entitled ‘Confronting the Tobacco Epidemic in a New Era of Trade and Investment Liberalization,’ and is available here [pdf].

It details all of the various recent and current legal cases and policy initiatives related to tobacco, including at the World Trade Organization. Among the related cases at the WTO are the recent challenges to Australia’s plain-packaging anti-smoking law, which has raised trademark issues under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

A news report last week took the stance that Australia’s involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations could weaken its case against tobacco. Read the article here.

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