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 >

    WIPO Members Struggle To Define Work Programme On Patents And Health

    Published on 27 February 2013 @ 6:30 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    As the World Intellectual Property Organization’s patent law committee grapples with starkly differing positions on the topic of patents and health, the secretariats of WIPO, the World Health Organization and World Trade Organization presented to members how their first trilateral study on access to medical technologies and innovation could be used as an effective resource. While the secretariats emphasised the neutral, informative nature of the book, some members pointed to a need for greater analysis of the challenges developing countries face when trying to use patent flexibilities for access to medicines.

    The 19th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) is meeting from 25-28 February with heavy pressure to finally come to an agreement on its future work programme. Meeting documents are available here. Delegates worked quickly through the first part of the agenda at the start of the week (IPW, WIPO, 26 February 2013).

    Launched at the WTO on 5 February, “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation” provides a description of options available for policies involving public health, IP, and trade. At the request of SCP members, the three secretariats presented the study to the committee on 26 February.

    A Neutral Resource

    Presenting on behalf of the WIPO secretariat, Hans Georg Bartels, senior program officer in the Global Challenges Division, emphasised that the book is meant to inform, not to evaluate. In particular, he noted that the factual account of policy options available for the promotion of medicine access and innovation, “does not promote a view, does not provide a conclusion, nor does it provide recommendations.”

    Similarly, Antony Taubman, director of the Intellectual Property Division at the WTO, said that the trilateral study represents a “consolidation of many years of collaboration between the three institutions, especially concerning TRIPS.” He said the focus on access and innovation of the report is mirrored in the WTO Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, known as the Doha Declaration, which was “one step in a journey toward greater recognition that access to medicines requires the right mix of policy measures.”

    Presenting from a public health perspective, Zafar Mirza, coordinator of the Department of Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property at WHO, pointed to the study’s emphasis on the strong link between access and innovation during his intervention [doc], calling them “two sides of the same coin.” From heat stable vaccines to effective medicines for neglected tropical diseases, he cited several examples of where innovation and access are equally needed.

    In terms of specific policy measures covered in the study, Mirza pointed to the importance of robust regulatory harmonisation to ensure the circulation of quality medicines on international markets; the effect of tariffs on pharmaceutical products on access; IP protection issues and how different trade deals can affect access and innovation.

    In reaction to the study presentation, SCP members widely congratulated the three secretariats for the “thorough quality” and the comprehensive nature of the resource, congratulating them on their work. However, several developing countries called for additional analysis.

    Developing Countries See Knowledge Gap

    On behalf of the Africa Group, Algeria said that while the study recognises that there are some limitations to the use of patent flexibilities, it “does not look at the constraints countries encounters using the flexibilities.” Additionally, the delegate said that many African countries are “overwhelmed by the formalities” and said that the proposal tabled by her group and supported by the Developing Agenda Group (DAG) would be an important contribution to this knowledge gap.

    Namely, the African and DAG joint proposal on a patents and health work programme (SCP/16/17), suggests three elements including studies, information exchange, and technical assistance especially for least developed countries (LDCs). In terms of the studies, the proposal calls for an examination of “challenges and constraints faced by LDCs in making full use of the public health related patent flexibilities both in the pre-grant and in the post-grant stage.”

    The delegate from India supported the proposal saying, “There is an urgent need to study flexibilities” and to “study their impact on the price of drugs.”

    Brazil, on behalf of the DAG, also pointed to how further studies could build on the trilateral study. The delegate noted that the study showed that “public health policies demand wide and complex governmental intervention in order to be effective, and that competition policy is effective for enhancing access to medical technology and fostering innovation in the pharmaceutical sector. These matters could be further explored by the DAG/African Group proposal.”

    US Says Flexibility Focus Would Jeopardise SCP Neutrality

    On the opposite side of the policy spectrum, the US delegation’s proposal on patents and health (SCP/17/11) proposes an examination of the positive side of patents in providing medicines to developing countries. Additionally, the US proposal emphasises the “limited impact patent protection has on the availability of essential medicines” and that “greater uses of flexibilities are not useful in securing better availability of medicines.” Rather, the US suggests focussing on alternative voluntary licensing and funding schemes.

    Addressing the plenary, the US delegate said that “patents do not prevent countries from access to health” and the removal of intellectual property rights would also not automatically improve access. Additionally, the delegate said that focusing on flexibilities would “jeopardise the neutrality of what we are doing here.”

    Patents and health is certainly one of the most divisive issues the SCP is facing, with countries seemingly entrenched in their positions. However, a delegate from an African country noted that not all developing countries are as focussed on flexibilities as others. Another delegate from a developing country expressed concern about countries finding a compromise on the issue as continuing work on international patent standards is an essential part of the multilateral dialogue on the IP system.

    The SCP chair is meeting with regional coordinators today as members endeavour to strike a deal on the future of WIPO’s patent committee.

    [Update:] WIPO Observer Interventions

    Several WIPO observers made interventions following the trilateral study presentation, including Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), which focussed remarks on cost-sharing approaches to the implementation Article 39.3 of TRIPS, which refers to the protection of regulatory data, and the human rights aspect of de-linking cost from the prices of medicines where markets are failing and the R&D treaty.

    On Article 39.3, KEI noted that the trilateral report points to “cost-sharing as an alternative to data exclusivity which would permit the reliance on originator data provided that the ‘generic supplier participates in the costs of generating the data’.” KEI encouraged countries in trade agreement negotiations to consider this approach.

    Additionally, KEI, long-time advocates of an R&D treaty for diseases of the poor, noted that the trilateral study highlights the human rights aspect as it relates to IP and trade, suggesting that member states pursue this avenue in ongoing international talks on the subject.

    In particular, KEI pointed to a key related section in the study: “In the context of neglected diseases where innovation in medical technologies has not kept with the needs of developing countries, the right to health includes an obligation for states to promote R&D of new medical technologies.”

    The Medicines Patents Pool (MPP), a Geneva-based group working to increase access to affordable, high-quality medicines for HIV/AIDS patients in low and middle income countries, noted that the trilateral study highlights the important role of patent pools in promoting access to medicines and enhancing the availability of cheaper generic medicines in developing countries. The cutting-edge organisation also invited countries to encourage pharmaceutical companies not yet with the pool to join. [end update]

    IFPMA Releases Report on Incremental Innovation

    Separately, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) launched a publication, “Incremental Innovation: Adapting to Patient Needs,” this week. The aim of the publication is to “highlight the benefits of incremental innovation for global health,” according to an IFPMA media release.

    Incremental innovation refers to improvements on existing medicines such as expanding the number of medicines within a therapeutic class, increasing the number of available dosing options, discovering new physiological interactions, and improving other properties of existing medicine. The association linked the report to the SCP patent and health discussions.

    “IFPMA welcomes discussions at the SCP on the important role patents play in the enabling innovation and advancing global health. Patents are an important incentive for both creating innovative treatments and improvements to first-in-class medicines. The various examples of incremental innovation described in our report often involve many of the same research and development challenges as breakthrough medicines, and contribute to widening the number of treatment options available to doctors and patients,” Andrew Jenner, director of innovation, IP and trade at the IFPMA, told Intellectual Property Watch.

    Critics call the patenting of these innovations “evergreening,” as a tactic to prolong market exclusivity of a drug, blocking competition and affordability. Indeed, the delegate from Algeria, on behalf of the Africa Group, made reference to evergreening during her intervention on 26 February, calling for a need to further examine the topic in a future study.

     

    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 54.166.137.42