Why The Request By Least Developed Countries For An Extension Of The Transitional Period For Granting And Enforcing Medicines Patents Needs To Be Supported

Ellen 't Hoen

Ellen ‘t Hoen writes: On 24 February 2015 Bangladesh on behalf of the 34 Least Developed Country members (LDCs) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) submitted a request for an extension of the transitional period under article 66.1 TRIPS with respect to pharmaceutical products until the country is no longer classified as LDC.[1] The original extension, set to expire on 1st January 2016, specifically removes the obligation for LDCs to comply with Section 5 (Patents) and Section 7 (Protection of Undisclosed Information) of Part II of TRIPS, including any obligation to enforce rights under these provisions.

It is a little known fact that since the adoption of the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, LDCs have frequently used the extension in day-to-day procurement of low cost generic medicines, in particular to access medicines needed for the treatment of HIV.

South Africa Awaits Patent Reforms With Hope, Concern

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CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s new policy on patents could go to the Cabinet for approval soon, says Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF), one of the organisations spearheading the Fix the Patent Laws campaign in the country.

New Quiet Initiative To Improve Drug Access In Middle-Income Countries, Change Country Classification System

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This week a confidential high-level expert meeting was convened in Geneva to start work on a potential change in the country classification used by global health actors to remedy the growing problem of access to medicines in middle-income countries.

In 21st Century No One Should Die For Lack Of Access To Medicines, Participants At UN Forum Say

Price of Medicines

Last week’s 2015 Social Forum led by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for urgent action to facilitate access to medicines. In particular, the functioning of the intellectual property system was put into question. A number of recommendations were drawn by the secretariat after having been identified by participants.

TRIPS In Question During Social Forum Discussion On Access To Medicines

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Intellectual property rights are hindering access to medicines by maintaining monopolies and high prices, according to speakers at an annual United Nations forum on human rights last week. Flexibilities enshrined in the World Trade Organization intellectual property agreement are hampered by political and economical pressure, they said, and a new system should be devised for pharmaceutical products.

Neuchâtel Event Looks At Swiss Innovation, Competitiveness

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NEUCHATEL – Switzerland is among the best students of global innovation. It continues to score at the top of global indexes and reports on innovation and competitiveness. At a seminar last week at the University of Neuchâtel, speakers gave their views on that success.

WIPO Seminar Could Rekindle Discussions On Genetic Resources, TK

Genetic Resources

After the failure to agree on work to be done by the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on genetic resources and traditional knowledge at the last general assembly, and a barren calendar of meetings on the subject, WIPO is organising a seminar aimed at sharing regional, national and local experiences.

US Congress Reconsiders Anti-Patent Troll Law

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It happened again on 5 February. The powerful chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte introduced the Innovation Act for a second time. This bill, aimed at hurting patent trolls by making a plethora of changes in US patent law, easily passed the House of Representatives last term. It subsequently bogged down in a Democrat-controlled Senate. However, now that the GOP controls both wings of Congress, many observers predict the bill will have soon become law. Other experts aren’t so sure, noting that the Innovation Act is drawing some powerful opposition – and not just from patent trolls.

At WTO Next Week: GI Register, Plain Packaging, Women In Innovation

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The next meeting of the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee is expected to include discussions on women and innovation, and concerns about legislative efforts in the United Kingdom and Ireland to introduce plan packaging for tobacco products. Prior to the meeting, informal consultations will be held on the negotiating issue of an international register for geographical indications (GIs) for wines and spirits.

The Year In Biotech/Biodiversity: Patentability, Plant Varieties, Treaty Implementation

Biotech

Intellectual property-related developments expected this year could profoundly impact the fields of biotechnology and biodiversity. In addition, ongoing issues relating to plant variety protection and public health are expected to be at the forefront of discussions this year. The following is a look at many of the top issues to come.