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Intellectual Property Watch
Original news and analysis on international IP policy
Updated: 1 week 3 days ago
World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan submitted a report to last week’s Executive Board meeting detailing progress made in establishing a framework for the implementation of a global action plan for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs – like obesity, cancer, diabetes). The global action plan is to be officially implemented after the United Nations General Assembly comprehensive review of the prevention and control of NCDs in 2018, designed to eventually reduce premature mortality from NCDs by a third in 2030 in accordance with the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.
In mid-January, Netflix announced a ban on the use of proxies, unblockers, and virtual private networks (VPNs)—all technical work-arounds to view movies and TV programs unavailable in the subscriber’s country. This announcement coincided with the company’s global service launch into more than 130 new markets.
There is an increasing shortage of medicines in the world, in particular in developing countries, but not only there, World Health Organization members said in last week’s Executive Board meeting. Discussions are ongoing on potential solutions and the agenda item referring to the issue was left open, to be brought to the World Health Assembly in May.
World Health Organization members last week agreed to meet for a final session in April to discuss the framework regulating the engagement of the organisation with “non-state actors,” such as non-governmental and philanthropy organisations, and the private sector.
A high level panel of experts charged by United Nations secretary general to explore solutions to increase innovation and access to medicines in developing countries gave a briefing today to explain the process of the initiative. Intellectual property is often seen as both a barrier to the diffusion of health technologies and an innovation enabler.
A new report from the World Health Organization says there will be 45 million new jobs in the health workforce worldwide by the end of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2030. But most of the new jobs will be created in upper-middle and high-income nations.
The pressures of running the world’s highest profile public health agency in trying times (new outbreaks, mass migration and other challenges, with uncertain funding) could make the job of debatable attractiveness, but rumours in the World Health Organization hallways this week are that many possible candidates are likely to be considered to vie for head of the United Nations agency in Geneva. But the election process itself was just finalised for the changeover to occur in mid-2017, so it is too early to start naming possible candidates. The following is a look at the process leading to the next head of the WHO.
Fake and poor quality medicines are still a growing public health concern particularly in developing countries, according to some World Health Organization members, who said at last week's WHO Board meeting that the problem comes from the unaffordability of medicines and the lack of a strong surveillance system.
This morning, World Health Organization Executive Board members took note of a report by the WHO secretariat on the evaluation of the organisation’s global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property. An inception report by the evaluation team was provided to the WHO in December, which has not been shared to the member states, according to the secretariat, although its results are expected to be presented to them in March. In the meantime, key points have been provided.
The World Health Organization Executive Board this week noted a number of reports on communicable diseases, such as poliomyelitis, and vaccines. Developing countries underlined the affordability and accessibility of treatments. The board also agreed on the setting up of an open-ended intergovernmental meeting to come to agreement on the organisation’s governance reform.
During the Executive Board meeting at the World Health Organization this week, member states agreed on committing to the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. The consensus reached by member states was that direct health development goals such as the continuous effort to rid the world of malaria, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C are at the forefront of pressing issues. But goals for health and those for related issues should be worked on together as they are mutually beneficial, they said.
The United States Copyright Act should be amended in a “very careful” way to change the way statutory damages are awarded to successful copyright owners against infringing individuals and online services, Shira Perlmutter, US Patent and Trademark Office chief policy officer and international affairs director, said today. She and John Morris, National Telecommunications and Information Administration associate administrator and internet policy director, unveiled a white paper by the Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force (IPTF) which, while proposing legislative changes to the damages provisions, also said no amendments are needed to the measure's remix and “first sale” clauses.
A new study released this week in Geneva provides insights into public-private partnerships (PPPs) with a special focus on China and India, while a panel of health experts discussing the report highlighted the importance of such partnerships.
A report by an advisory group tasked with helping with the reform of the World Health Organization’s response to outbreaks and emergency situations calls for a unified response from all geographical levels of the organisation. The recommendations raised concern from some, but the WHO director general said she sees consensus.
The World Health Organization routinely works with a number of outside actors, such as non-governmental groups, philanthropic organisations, industry and academics. Member states have been trying to establish a framework to regulate such engagement and are still working to produce a consensus document. This week they are trying to extend the mandate of an intergovernmental meeting in the hope that an ultimate meeting in April can solve remaining issues.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva writes: Our livestock is increasingly being raised indoors and fed on concentrate feed that is often imported. Intensive production of chickens, pigs and dairy cows is based on a few breeds worldwide. These developments are risky, as we and future generations are losing the potential to adapt livestock production systems to increasingly harsh conditions such as those associated with higher temperatures and shortages of nutritious feeds.
The implementation of a protocol ensuring access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable benefit-sharing of commercial benefits might affect the sharing of pathogens samples between countries, said the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, who asked the World Health Organization to study possible implications of the protocol’s implementation.
Response to diseases outbreaks must be changed at the World Health Organization, Director General Margaret Chan told the opening of the Executive Board meeting today. She also called for universal health coverage and the implementation of the international health regulation, and for action in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.
The Nigerian government has continued to make progress toward new copyright legislation in recent weeks, but efforts appear to have become less transparent, as the results of a public comment period that ended weeks ago have not been made available and the draft copy of the bill is no longer available on the Copyright Commission website.
The European Patent Office on 20 January revoked a patent held by Monsanto on virus-resistant melons for technical reasons, much to the glee of opponents of patents on conventional plants. [updated]