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Intellectual Property Watch
Original news and analysis on international IP policy
Updated: 56 min 19 sec ago
World Health Organization delegates today agreed in committee to postpone until 2017 the review of a mechanism that had been set up to help countries deal with substandard and fake medicines.
World Health Organization members this week are debating a plan to address the global problem of increasing resistance to existing antibiotics and the lack of new treatments to replace them. Today, discussions on antimicrobial resistance went to informals to try to resolve outstanding issues.
The United Nations Development Programme and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS have issued a joint statement supporting a request by least-developed countries to extend a waiver allowing them to abstain from enforcing patents on pharmaceutical products.
Today, the signing ceremony of the new World Intellectual Property Organization agreement to protect geographical indications was held. On the first day, 11 members, mostly current Lisbon members, signed the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications.
The European Council of member states yesterday adopted a decision asking the European Commission to draft legislation on Europe’s ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty on increasing access to publications for blind and visually impaired readers. The Marrakesh Treaty was concluded at the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2013, and WIPO members have been in the […]
Pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences has been noted first for developing a treatment for hepatitis C, which afflicts tens of millions around the world, and then for pricing it at jaw-dropping prices ($1000 per pill) in the United States and elsewhere. Now a group of health advocates has challenged Gilead's patent applications in five emerging economies.
Today, a small number of World Intellectual Property Organization members adopted a new Geneva Act of a treaty protecting appellations of origin and geographical indications. The Act is the revision of a previous treaty which only covered appellations of origin. This adoption was made to the dismay of other WIPO members, which despite efforts to accommodate their views could not reconcile being denied the right to vote in a United Nations body. They said the agreement among a few members could affect all.
[Update: the new Act has been adopted. More to come.] After a week of drafting, a handful of World Intellectual Property Organization members – with often divergent input from other WIPO members – are close to concluding a new international agreement on the protection of geographical indications.
From the New Minute: The Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr. Margaret Chan has invited the private sector, civil society and academia among others, to join a dialogue on how non-state players can work with the global body to enhance public health work. A leading voice in this configuration is the United States-based Global Health Council (GHC) whose strong and spirited response to the invitation has set the cat among the pigeons in some countries (including reportedly with India) and certain sections of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Senators Blumenthal, Brown, Baldwin, and Udall introduced today a trade negotiation transparency bill that would require that all formal U.S. proposals for trade agreement restrictions on domestic regulations be posted on a website. This is a common sense policy that should be broadly supported. The bill would require policies similar to the transparency policies currently followed by the European Union and by intergovernmental organizations that set similar minimum regulatory standards. But it would be a major change in the current process for trade negotiations followed by the U.S. Trade Representative, which are infamously secretive, write Sean Flynn and David Levine.
An assessment of the World Health Organization Global Vaccine Action Plan aimed at delivering vaccination to all and boosting research into new vaccines found implementation to be “far off-track” in some areas. Today at the World Health Assembly, Libya put forward a new proposal at the Assembly to reduce vaccine prices and increase availability in developing countries.
“The Ebola outbreak shook this organization to its core,” World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan said in opening the WHO’s annual assembly today. And the need to better construct the world’s emergency response systems has the biggest economies on the podium, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking as chair of the Group of 7.
A small number of World Intellectual Property Organization members this week are negotiating to expand a treaty to protect geographical indications, products like Champagne. Under the old treaty, which protects appellations of origin, over half of the registrations are in France, and another large amount in Italy. According to an analysis, many of the 28 members of the treaty have zero or very few registrations, raising the question of how the new GI protection will be different if agreed.
Members of a World Intellectual Property Organization-managed treaty protecting appellations of origin this week are working to add geographical indications to the treaty. They are addressing issues not yet agreed upon, including the sustainability of the system, and how to address prior use of such geographical indications by trademark owners.
The World Health Organization is working to learn from the fast response on research and development for Ebola that led to effective treatments in a short time. It hopes that this changes the way R&D for emergency vaccines is done forever.
Some words are too offensive to be registered trademarks. Racial slurs, derogatory names for ethnic groups, and other terms that disparage people can be denied registration, according to the vast majority of countries. The US, however, might soon back away from this anti-bigotry stance. The nation’s courts may be on the verge of ruling that the registration of derogatory terms is protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of free speech.
Ebola R&D, Antibiotic Resistance, Neglected Diseases Among Issues At This Year’s World Health Assembly
The annual World Health Assembly opens next week with a focus on antimicrobial resistance, the Ebola outbreak, and research and development. Other subject of interests will be World Health Organization engagement with outside stakeholders, such as non-governmental organisations and the private sector, and a potential pooled fund for research and development for neglected diseases.
World Intellectual Property Organization members negotiating a new version of a treaty protecting appellations of origin started fine-tuning the wording of the potential amended treaty’s articles, trying to find common language on remaining issues, such as trans-border geographical areas of origin, and the required information in applications.
WARSAW -- More than twenty years after Poland’s parliament passed the Authors’ and Related Rights law of 1994, the Polish government is drafting three bills to modify the country’s intellectual property legislation. The first of the drafts prepared by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National heritage was submitted to the Parliament in March, and is currently being deliberated, while the ministry is finishing work on the remaining two drafts.
Last-ditch efforts by a range of World Intellectual Property Organization members to join treaty negotiations at WIPO this week failed, as the 28 members of the treaty rejected a proposal to allow non-members. As a result, WIPO's biggest-paying member called into question the future legitimacy of the UN organisation.