Posts Tagged: "WTO"

Former Commerce, USPTO Heads Push for U.S. to Lead Opposition to Extending WTO’s COVID IP Waiver

In a webinar hosted today by the Council for Innovation Promotion (C4IP), the organization’s founders, Andrei Iancu and David Kappos, both former Directors of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), spoke with former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, about the increased skepticism surrounding a plan to extend the waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. According to Kappos, while World Trade Organization (WTO) member countries were supposed to decide on December 17 whether to extend the waiver, “given the rising opposition and other countries starting to raise their hands” with questions, “it’s seeming likely the WTO will defer its decision until the New Year.”

Mexico and Switzerland Question Need for Extension of COVID IP Waiver

A communication from the governments of Mexico and Switzerland to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on Tuesday raised a number of questions about the prospect of extending a waiver of intellectual property (IP) rights for COVID-19 vaccine technologies to therapeutics and diagnostics. The Council met informally in September to discuss the extension, which technically has a deadline of December 19, six months after the Ministerial Conference decision finalizing a waiver on “patented subject matter required for the production and supply of COVID-19 vaccines” only. The final agreement contemplated extending the waiver to “the production and distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics” within six months of adoption.

NIH Makes Deal with WHO to Share Key COVID Technologies

The United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) signed a deal today with the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) that allows manufacturers greater access to key COVID-19 technologies owned by NIH. The licensing agreement offers 11 technologies under transparent, global and non-exclusive licenses. They include “the stabilized spike protein used in currently available COVID-19 vaccines, research tools for vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic development as well as early-stage vaccine candidates and diagnostics.”

Biden is Missing an Opportunity at the USPTO

Intellectual property (IP) made modern vaccines possible. It took billions of dollars in private and public investments in research and development to be able to create, in record time, multiple viable vaccines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire world should be celebrating the innovators that continue to push forward with new solutions to problems we will face in the future. This pandemic will end, but there will be another. We should be eternally grateful to have companies like Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson that have the capability to create and manufacture vaccines at large scale…. It has been over four months since President Biden’s inauguration. As of yet there has not been a nomination for the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In addition to running the USPTO, the Director is responsible for advising the President on intellectual property issues. I believe that President Biden would have benefitted from an experienced voice knowledgeable about the dangers of supporting the erosion of property rights during the discussions on whether to support India and South Africa’s proposal to the World Trade Organization to waive IP protections under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Indian Vaccine Economics: IP Rights are Not the Real Villain in India’s COVID-19 Emergency

The horrific second wave of COVID-19 in India has compelled the government to introduce an expedited vaccination drive from May 1, 2021, where all citizens above the age of 18 (and not just priority groups) will be eligible to register. The program also came with the promise of an introduction to several new vaccines in the market. A majority of the states also decided to roll out the vaccine for free. Unfortunately, reports that stock had run out followed shortly in several states. States like Maharashtra and Delhi had to keep the drive on hold. Bengaluru also faced supply problems ahead of the drive. A popular proposition is that patent restrictions and exclusivity of “know-how” are a barrier to adequate production of vaccines.

Gutting Patents Won’t Speed the COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

India and South Africa recently urged the World Trade Organization to suspend intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The claim is that this would allow developing countries to manufacture “cheap” COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines, hastening the end to the pandemic—at least, that’s what proponents claim. They’re wrong. Dangerously wrong. Gutting IP protections won’t make COVID-19 medications more readily available but it will set a terrible precedent that will chill future medical innovation.

Calls for WTO to Suspend IP Rights for Vaccine Innovation Would Jeopardize Incredible Progress

The biggest vaccination effort in the history of medicine is underway to eradicate the global pandemic, with several strong prospects appearing poised for regulatory approval. As of December 2020, data from the World Health Organization showed over 50 vaccine candidates in clinical research, and 163 more in the preclinical stage. The wait could soon be over. Two separate vaccines – one from Pfizer and BioNTech and one from Moderna – are pending emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The former is already being administered for the first time outside of clinical trials following its approval by the UK government. That’s why recent calls to strip away intellectual property protections are so dangerous. Specifically, some nations have asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive intellectual property protections related to COVID-19 – including not only vaccines, treatments, diagnostics, and medical technologies, but all forms of IP – until the majority of the world’s population has developed immunity. They argue that the current global intellectual property system is a barrier to accessing said COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, diagnostics, and medical technologies.

The New U.S. Essential Patents Statement – Safeguarding the Integrity of the Patent System

In withdrawing the 2013 statement, the new 2019 guidance by the DOJ, NIST and the USPTO states the obvious, i.e. that there is no difference in the law between F/RAND assured standard essential patents and all other patents. While some would have perhaps liked to break the unitarity approach of the patent system so as to weaken remedies against the infringement of essential patents, a legal system that would apply a different standard to standard essential patents as opposed to other patents would violate U.S. trade obligations.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Holds Hearing on China’s Threat to U.S. Innovation Leadership

On the morning of Thursday, July 19th, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing titled China’s Threat to American Government and Private Sector Research and Innovation Leadership. The day’s hearing was dedicated to discuss strategies, both legal and illicit, which are employed by the Chinese government and designed to gain a competitive advantage over the United States.

China Reorganizes SIPO, Gives It Authority Over Trademark and Geographical Indications

Among the many bureaucratic changes that resulted from the amendments to the Chinese Constitution included the integration of trademark responsibilities with the other intellectual property activities of the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Such responsibilities, including the management of trademark applications, grants and administrative adjudications, were formerly the province of China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), which has been disbanded. The newly reorganized SIPO will also handle applications and grants for geographical indications of product origin.

Letter to President Trump on China IP Probe is Latest Sign of Conservative Support for Private IP Rights

A group of 16 leaders from politically conservative institutions sent a letter addressed to President Donald Trump lauding the Trump Administration’s decision last summer to initiate an investigation into Chinese trade practices regarding intellectual property. The investigation, authorized under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, was aimed at identifying instances where U.S. technologies have been forcibly transferred to Chinese entities as a cost of entering the Chinese domestic market as a foreign entity… The recent letter to President Trump from conservative leaders is the latest indication that right-leaning institutions and think tanks have been more engaged with the debate surrounding the current U.S. intellectual property system.

New Balance wins largest verdict ever for foreign plaintiff in Chinese trademark suit

This latest victory for a foreign plaintiff asserting intellectual property claims is proof of yet another step down the road leading to a reformed, intellectual property friendly China, with China cracking down on infringers — as promised by Chinese President Xi Jinping… The Chinese IP court in Beijing reportedly ordered three domestic shoemakers to pay a total of 10 million yuan ($1.5 million USD) to New Balance for infringing upon the slanted ‘N’ logo utilized by New Balance on its branded shoes. That’s not a huge damages award in the grand scheme of trademark damages ordered around the world but reports indicate that the damages in this cases were the most ever handed out by a Chinese court to a foreign plaintiff for trademark infringement allegations.

Trump Administration opens probe into alleged Chinese theft of U.S. intellectual property

President Donald Trump has signed a memo at the White House which authorized the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to make an inquiry into the alleged theft of American intellectual property which is believed to be aided by the Chinese federal government. Although there are concerns that the statement could increase tensions with China just as the U.S. government is seeking more cooperation from China on issues surrounding North Korea, the recent Trump memo comes in response to the $600 billion American intellectual property owners lose each year, a majority of which is due to Chinese tech transfer policies.

Trump Administration to open probe into deceptive intellectual property policy in China

Plans are being made by the Trump administration to open a probe into deceptive Chinese trade practices by invoking Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974… Where joint venture tech transfer rules are concerned, however, the Trump administration may well find out that the Chinese government is enabling practices that do violate international treaties. Foreign entities who want to operate in the Chinese market are typically forced to do so as joint ventures with domestic entities and the transfer of intellectual property assets from the foreign entity to the domestic one is often enforced. That policy runs afoul of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

What happens when lifestyle drugs like Viagra and Cialis lose patent protections?

Each year, millions of men rely on pharmaceuticals like Viagra and Cialis for their erectile dysfunction (ED), but they may not be the only ones facing dysfunctionalities. As the patents on these lucrative lifestyle drugs come to an end, price tags and bottom lines are expected to plummet… The lifestyle drug market is extremely lucrative. These medications can be used by all age groups worldwide and increased individual awareness of health and beauty has created a demand for physical fitness and improved performance of all our body parts. People are living longer, have higher disposable income, and the demand only grows more when a drug touts the high quality and safety of their formulations after it passes the stringent requirements for FDA approval… The real question, however, is whether U.S. patent law and policy will continue to give pharmaceutical companies the incentives necessary to innovate lifesaving medicines, or whether we will continue to see more and more blockbuster lifestyle drugs moving into the future.