TRIPS Council Debates: Tobacco Packaging, Non-Violation Disputes, Innovation, Health Waiver, UNCTAD

Enough of a deterrent?

This week’s meeting of the World Trade Organization body governing intellectual property issues addressed a long agenda, reflecting continued divergence on regular items, such as complaints that do not involve breach of a WTO agreement, a health waiver, and sustained discussions on plain packaging for tobacco products.

First Innovation Fair Hosted At WTO, Draws Diverse Projects With IP In Mind

Innovation Fair in WTO Atrium

The World Trade Organization hosted an Innovation Fair on 28 October, gathering inventors, supporting agencies, and patent offices. A number of inventions were displayed and explained, from concrete walls to motorisation for bicycles.

TRIPS Council Next Week: Tobacco, Innovation, Non-Violations, Public Health Review

WTO   - Catherine Saez

The next meeting of the World Trade Organization Council on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is scheduled to take place on 28-29 October. In addition to the regular agenda items of the Council, two additional agenda items have been submitted by members, relating to tobacco plain packaging and innovation. Image Credits: Catherine Saez

WTO Director General Presents TRIPS As Major Tool For Trade Growth

Azevedo Federal Bar Asso - Oct 2014 - WTO

World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevêdo this week hailed WTO’s intellectual property agreement, saying the past two decades show it provides a balanced multilateral foundation for the growth of trade in knowledge-rich products and services.

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.

Leaked TPP Draft Reveals Extreme Rights Holder Position Of US, Japan, Outraged Observers Say

Wikileaks logo

Critics poring over a newly leaked alleged draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) intellectual property chapter say it shows the United States is taking an all-out lurch toward greater protection and less access, causing outrage among public interest groups.

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.

“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.

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.

Global Value Chains In Africa: Set Of Preconditions Needed To Be Profitable, Panel Says

Susan Bingi address WTO Public Forum

At the World Trade Organization Public Forum last week, a panel explored opportunities for Africa in global and regional value chains. A certain level of development needs to be achieved so that countries can benefit from global value chains, speakers said.