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    IP And Public Health, Biotech Rise As Issues In TPP Negotiations

    Published on 30 July 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    Intellectual property and the issues of biotechnology and public health are rising concerns for stakeholders to the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiations.

    The 18th round of TPP negotiations took place from 15-25 July in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

    In the latest round of negotiations, participating countries “reached agreement” on a wide range of technical issues surrounding market access, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, investment, financial services, e-commerce, and transparency, according to a statement released 25 July by the Office of the USTR.

    USTR said countries “found common ground on issues that allowed them to make progress in the negotiating groups covering intellectual property, competition, and environment,” and “agreed on next steps and an overall plan for achieving these market access outcomes.”

    Froman and TPP ministers plan to “engage regularly” in the weeks prior to the next round of negotiations, to be held in Brunei from 22-30 August. It comes alongside the scheduled meeting of the economic ministers of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    No further details were available on the highly confidential negotiations. In general, members of industry have access to the negotiation details while nongovernmental groups and media do not.

    BIO Calls for Strong IP

    The US-based Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) issued a letter on 18 July and white paper to US Trade Representative Michael Froman, urging him to support strong intellectual property standards and protection throughout the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) region.

    Countries negotiating the TPP include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, with Japan recently joining.

    In its letter, BIO President and CEO James Greenwood stated, “A successful TPP Agreement will create an environment that promotes collaboration and innovation throughout the trans-Pacific region.”

    Greenwood said that a “robust and forward-looking set of intellectual property (IP) standards shared by all TPP members” is a critical component of such an environment. He referred to BIO’s white paper for more detailed arguments to further support of the group’s request.

    According to the white paper, “the realities of modern research and development” in the biotech industry are such that “each TPP member has the potential to participate in the discovery and development of new biological products, or new uses of existing products.”

    BIO claims that this potential for “any TPP country to be the seed” of discovery, innovation and development necessitates a “certain and consistent” IP system across all TPP countries.

    BIO also said that differences in IP infrastructure will impede collaboration, and for this reason a strong set of IP standards is “imperative”. The white paper underscores data, patent and trade secret protection to be of particular importance and relevance to biological products.

    MSF Warns Against Overly Strong IP

    On the other side of the debate, nongovernmental organisations and civil society members such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) have been vocal in their protest against strict and “damaging” IP provisions set forth by the US.

    In an open letter [pdf] to TPP countries, MSF expressed its concern that these provisions pose “a direct threat to the future availability of affordable medicines for MSF’s patients and for millions of others around the Asia-Pacific region.”

    Considering the potential for TPP to “become a global standard,” MSF encourages negotiating countries to “reject provisions that will harm access to medicines and ensure that the final text is aligned with relevant global public health commitments.”

    A related 15 July MSF press release is available here.

    Brittany Ngo is currently completing her Master’s in Health Policy and Global Health at the Yale School of Public Health and previously obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics from Georgetown University. Through her studies she has developed an interest in health-related intellectual property issues. She is a summer intern at Intellectual Property Watch.

     

    Brittany Ngo may be reached at info@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. IP And Public Health, Biotech Rise As Issues In TPP Negotiations | Don't trade our lives away says:

      [...] Source: IP watch [...]

    2. International Coalition Counters TPP Secrecy With Open Copyright Forum | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] The latest round of TPP negotiations took place from 15-25 July in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (IPW, Bilateral/Regional Negotiations, 30 July 2013). [...]

    3. What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)? ACTA in sheep’s clothing! | The R.A.W.W. Scoop says:

      […] IP And Public Health, Biotech Rise As Issues In TPP Negotiations (ip-watch.org) […]


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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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