IP Good For Trade, If Enforcement Strong, IP Proponents Say At WTO01/10/2015 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.At a panel at the World Trade Organization organised by the United States Chamber of Commerce, proponents of strong intellectual property protection explained why this protection is key in international trade, even if some might consider the minimum standard set by the WTO IP rules might need an update. The Chamber’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) organised a panel at the WTO Public Forum on 30 September titled, “Are Intellectual Property Rights in Trade Working for You?” The Public Forum is taking place from 30 September – 2 October.For Stan McCoy, president & managing director of the Motion Picture Association EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa region) and a former lead US trade negotiator, the world has undertaken major changes in the last 20 years. Twenty years ago, he said, there were no online services with full length film and television shows.As an illustration he said 10 years ago, worldwide online movie transactions amounted to 2.6 million, and now represents some 424 million.[sentence corrected] In the same manner, about 10 years ago, 300,000 people had access to movie content online, today the number is 87 million. Although that might seem quite a small number compared to the world population, “the growth is exceptional,” he said.IP Works, TRIPS a Bit OutdatedThe choice to distribute content on open channels relies on the right infrastructure to protect IP rights. “IP is working very well,” said McCoy. “In spite of the fact that TRIPS [WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights] itself was not really negotiated with this world in mind,” he said, adding that TRIPS sets a very important minimum standard and is very well administered by the WTO TRIPS Council. It plays a vitally important role to make sure people who are producing content know there is a baseline with minimum expectations, he said.In a world where there are many challenges for IP protection and IP enforcement, it is vital that there is a broad subscription to minimum IP standards so that businesses can have confidence that the same basic ideas are on the books for everybody, he said.Salvador Behar Lavalle, legal counsel for international trade for Mexico, praised the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the WTO, and said Mexico went from a closed market in the 1980s to “one of the most open market in the world” today.Mexico has trade agreements with 45 countries, he said, adding that Mexico is a growing economy, now being the 9th largest import market, and the 11th largest world exporter and 1st in Latin America. The export market has shifted from oil and raw materials in the 1980s to manufactured products today, he said. The majority of its export market is North America.Intellectual property is important, Behar Lavalle said, for innovation and also for the growing importance of Mexican brands, such as Corona (beer).TRIPS and NAFTA were drafted 20 years ago, he said. At the time they were state of the art but now the minimum standard needs to be increased, he said. Innovation requires protection of rights and the only way to protect those rights is to continue improving the national and international framework.Group says IP Vital for InnovationAndrew Spiegel, executive director of the Global Colon Cancer Association, said he suffered a personal tragedy and lost both parents two days apart due to cancer some years ago. His mother suffered from colon cancer and back in 1998, only one drug was available to treat the disease, with only an eight month life expectancy, and had been around for 30 years.There are now 10 approved drugs to treat the disease in the United States, four of which are biologics, he said. Those new products were brought to the market thanks to strong IP protection, he said, citing the treatment for hepatitis C as another example of a breakthrough medicine.IP provides incentives to invest in research and development, he said. If there is no strong data protection or IP rights enforcement, R&D will not happen, he added.New medicines will be available in communities with strong IP protection earlier than in those with weak IP protection, he said.The price of cancer drug and hepatitis C have been denounced by civil society organisations as being completely unaffordable in developing countries and as being a significant burden on public health budget in developed countries.The Council of Europe passed a resolution on 29 September seeking to put a stricter frame for pharmaceutical companies (IPW, Public Health, 1 October 2015). 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