USTR’s Investigations On IP Rights Against India: Is There A Tenable Case?

Indian flag

On 14 October, the US Trade Representative (USTR) began the out-of-cycle review (OCR) of India’s intellectual property (IP) laws, the mandate which it gave itself in the 2014 Special 301 Report. Like several years in the past, the USTR once again included India in the Priority Watch List, but this time, India’s IP laws are being subjected to the additional scrutiny through an OCR. It is to be seen whether the OCR sets the stage for naming India as a Priority Foreign Country, viewed by the USTR as worst offender of intellectual property rights, in the next Special 301 report. USTR’s inclusion of India for the OCR was a reflection of the influence that the domestic lobbies have on the country’s engagement with its partner countries, and about USTR’s consistency with World Trade Organization rules, writes Biswajit Dhar.

UNCTAD Forum: Local Drug Manufacturing A Key To Universal Health Coverage

Michel Sidibé Executive Director of UNAIDS at UNCTAD Investment Forum

Local production of medicines in developing countries is key to advancing universal health coverage, but other factors need to be considered, such as the involvement of all stakeholders and policy coherence in governments, according to speakers attending the World Investment Forum this week. Several speakers called for a paradigm shift in global health.

IT Innovation Supporting Home-Grown Solutions In Uganda

Participants in Uganda IT workshop

With the world’s youngest population, fast-rising access to internet and rapid spread of the use of mobile phones, Ugandans are starting to embrace information and communication technology innovations. This is confirmed by the increasing number of mobile and web applications with working prototypes developed in the country.

Special Report: Russia Modernises Its Intellectual Property Law

Russian IP Law Oct 2014

As of 1 October, major amendments of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation (the RF Civil Code) came into force concluding the most recent and extensive legislative revision since Part I of the Code was adopted in 1994. Changes affected substantive and procedural norms including Part IV codifying provisions on intellectual property rights. This report takes stock of some of the introduced novelties.

EU Legislation On Nagoya Protocol Becomes Effective; What Effect On Indigenous Peoples’ Rights?

Indigenous Community - Flickr - United Nations

The entry into force of an international treaty facilitating access to genetic resources and ensuring the fair sharing of potential commercial benefits has prompted the applicability of a European Union regulation relating to the treaty. This led a researcher to call on the treaty members to ensure its implementation protects the rights of indigenous and local communities.

UPOV Governing Body Meets This Week Amid Civil Society Concerns Over Harmonisation

Plant Variety - Flickr - Dwight Sipler

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is holding meetings of its governing and technical bodies this week. In particular, the UPOV Council is expected to renew Francis Gurry’s mandate as the organisation’s secretary-general, approve technical documents, and confirm the conformity of a Tanzanian plant breeders’ rights act.

Meanwhile, civil society has sounded the alarm over what it considers to be efforts to harmonise the application and examination procedures by the seed industry. Separately, a civil society study, carried out on three developing countries claims that UPOV 1991 might be threatening the global right to food.

“Trade Matters” For BRICS In Africa, So Does Internet Connectivity

publicForumLogo 2014

Last week’s World Trade Organization Public Forum hosted dozens of panels on the general theme of “why trade matters.” A panel focusing on the role of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) found that the new BRICS Development Bank could foster infrastructure development in Africa, while another panel said that removing barriers to internet connectivity is key to economic growth.

Nagoya Protocol Enters Into Force, Will Be Tested In Months To Come

Rain Forest - Flickr - Sue Bowen

The Nagoya Protocol, a treaty expected to ensure greater access to genetic resources and a mandatory fair benefit-sharing of the benefits that could be derived from those resources, will enter into force on 12 October, almost four years after it was agreed.

Alarm Over Monsanto-Backed Push To Acquire African Seed Company

Maize seeds - Flickr - Ian Hayhurst

An African civil society group has voiced concerns about the takeover by giant multinational seed companies of home-grown African seed companies, the latest of which involves Africa’s SeedCo.

Formal IP System Does Not Fit Africa, LDCs Need Technological Capacity, Speakers Say

Tobias Schonwetter

On the last day of the World Trade Organization Public Forum, a panel discussed the relationship between intellectual property and innovation in Africa, in particular in the informal sector. The formal IP system does not seems to fit, and least-developed countries need a sound technological base to be able to use the IP system. Separately, a European Patent Office study shows that Africa has a vast yet untapped potential in renewable energy.