Special Report: Will India Bend To US Pressure On IP Rights?

India-US CEO Forum Jan 2015 photo

It is no secret that the United States has been scaling up pressure on India to adopt intellectual property measures similar to those common in the United States and the European Union. But to what extent does India’s new government led by the business-friendly Narendra Modi see eye to eye with US official position? Can India, the “pharmacy of the world”, resolve the friction between pharmaceutical patents and access to affordable medicines without putting off foreign investors? The vitriolic and polarising debate surrounding these questions has got a fresh lease of life following US President Barack Obama’s landmark three-day visit to India this week.

While Indian and American business moguls are bullish about the future, Indian generic drug-makers as well as health activists within and outside India are deeply anxious about the shape of things to come

New Proposal To Extend WHO Action Plan On Innovation, IP Rights

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At the World Health Organization Executive Board today, a group of countries tabled a proposal to extend the WHO plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property until 2022. Yesterday, the Executive Board took note of the Global Vaccine Action Plan while some countries remarked on issues of affordability and accessibility. And today, one of the key discussions of the week – on the engagement of WHO with lobbyists, donors, and other interested non-governmental parties – has begun.

Key Hepatitis C Patent Rejected In India

Flickr -  DurhamDundee

Today’s rejection by the Patent Office Controller of India of a patent application by Gilead company for a key drug against hepatitis C is being hailed by advocates as a path to dramatically lower costs of treatment for the disease. Hepatitis C has been noteworthy for exorbitantly priced medicines over the past year. A look at the decision shows that a provision in India’s law continues to stop patent applications if they fail to show sufficient novelty and inventive step – and are subject to opposition.

Fight Against Ebola Gaining Ground As Vaccines Pass Tests, WHO Says

Ebola virus

The World Health Organization today optimistically announced progress in the search for efficient vaccines to fight the Ebola virus. Tests conducted so far show acceptable safety profiles, and public-private vaccine alliance Gavi has committed to fund Ebola vaccines.

Uganda Adopts Free And Open Source Software For E-Governance

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The population in Uganda has been growing rapidly. The country now has 35 million people. In order to provide quality services to its citizens and to improve the national competitiveness through administration innovation, the government has adopted free and open source software as the preferred mode of operation for electronic government (e-government) services and platforms.

WIPO Members Conclude Year Positively With Copyright Committee, Despite No Changes To Text

WIPO Library

The World Intellectual Property Organization’s last committee meeting of the year finished on an amiable note last week. The committee on copyright did not advance on text drafting but, according to the chair and a number of delegations, the weeklong meeting was an opportunity for extensive discussions on substance, the best in a long time.

Copyright Exceptions For Libraries: WIPO Should Step Up Before Someone Else Does, Researcher Says

Libraries go mobile in Bangladesh

The author of a World Intellectual Property Organization-commissioned study said this week that WIPO should take the lead on the issue of limitations and exceptions to copyright for libraries, before the debate and the solution are left to other actors.

EPO Supervisory Body To Face Fears Over Patent Quality, Judicial Independence

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As staff strikes continue and the European Patent Office’s Administrative Council prepares for what could be a contentious 11 December meeting, opinions are split over the effect of the turmoil on the office’s role in Europe’s unitary patent.

Limitations And Exceptions For Libraries, Archives And Education At WIPO: What To Know About The Africa Group Proposal

Kundayi Masanzuk

The 29th Session of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights at the World Intellectual Property Organization is currently underway. On the agenda, inter alia, will be discussions on Limitations and Exceptions to Libraries, Archives and Educational, Teaching and Research Institutions. Against the backdrop of the success with the Marrakesh Treaty, the trajectory looks set for these further exceptions and limitations to succeed.

WIPO Seminar: For Access To Hepatitis C Treatments, Look At HIV Lessons

Hepatitis C Virus

A seminar on innovation and access to medicine last week examined the issue of access to hepatitis C treatment, looking at the HIV/AIDS path. Voluntary licences, such as the one entered by Gilead for its hepatitis drugs, have been applauded but such licences often do not cover middle-income countries, which are home to the bulk of hepatitis C patients, and whose poor populations remain unable to access treatment.