Innovation & Development

Research Paper 194, 15 February 2024

Implementation of TRIPS Flexibilities and Injunctions: A Case Study of India

by Shirin Syed

The proponents of intellectual property (IP) have increasingly utilized injunctions with indiscriminate propensity as a strategic tool for IP enforcement, resulting in adverse socio-economic implications, including the enjoyment of human rights. This trend has eclipsed the flexibilities provided in the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health. Although a substantial volume of the literature focuses on the flexibilities of compulsory license or scope of patentability, little attention has been given to the flexibilities related to IP enforcement. Discussing the implications of IP enforcement on public interest, the paper examines the gaps in the articulation of flexibilities of intellectual property rights (IPRs) enforcement, with special reference to injunctions in India. It examines how far the courts consider the implications on the enjoyment of fundamental rights while granting injunctions on patents. This paper argues that the Indian courts have deviated from the cautious approach provisioned under the TRIPS flexibilities that allows the courts to consider the public interest aspect and human rights implications while granting injunctions in patent litigation. Moreover, it asserts that the courts should exercise prudence in granting injunctive relief in cases involving patent infringement, and take into account the potential impact of such relief on the exercise of human rights. This suggests a need for a careful examination of the potential implications of injunctive remedies in such cases.

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Policy Brief 125, 12 February 2024

WTO MC13: TRIPS Issues and Technology Transfer

 by Viviana Munoz Tellez, Nirmalya Syam

This Policy Brief discusses issues concerning trade, intellectual property, and technology transfer that are most relevant for consideration at the 13th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13) in February 2024 and inclusion in its outcomes.

The following recommendations are proposed:

  • TRIPS non-violation and situation complaints: MC13 Decision on the scope and modalities of non-violation and situation complaints under the Agreement on Trade related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). A second option is to extend the moratorium.
  • TRIPS, diagnostics and therapeutics for COVID-19: MC13 Decision that extends the MC12 TRIPS waiver Decision (only applicable to vaccines) to diagnostics and therapeutics
  • Relationship between TRIPS and the Convention on Biological Diversity: to be addressed in the MC13 Outcome Document
  • Follow up to the MC12 Declaration on the WTO Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Preparedness for Future Pandemics: to be addressed in the MC13 Outcome Document
  • Relationship of trade and technology transfer: include in the MC13 Outcome Document to reinvigorate and give direction to the Working Group on Trade and Technology Transfer (WGTTT) and increase attention in all relevant bodies on how the WTO can promote technology transfer

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Documento de investigación 192, 30 de enero de 2024

Pautas para el examen de patentes sobre anticuerpos monoclonales  

Por Juan Correa, Catalina de la Puente, Ramiro Picasso y Constanza Silvestrini

La investigación tiene como objetivo conocer el estado de las solicitudes de patente en materia de anticuerpos monoclonales (mAbs). El documento analiza las distintas estrategias en materia de reivindicaciones que utilizan los solicitantes con el fin de obtener protección por derecho de patentes. Se utilizó como fuente de información la base de datos construida y descrita en el Documento de Investigación No. 186 de South Centre. Se indaga sobre las principales reivindicaciones utilizadas en el campo de los mAbs, el tipo de clasificación CIP y el tipo de invención (producto o proceso) más frecuente en las patentes concedidas vigentes o caducas en Argentina. Finalmente, se analiza la utilización de las directrices de patentamiento argentinas en el caso de mAbs y se hacen recomendaciones respecto de posibles reformas a dichas directrices.

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Research Paper 191, 25 January 2024

TRIPS Waiver Decision for Equitable Access to Medical Countermeasures in the Pandemic: COVID-19 Diagnostics and Therapeutics

By Nirmalya Syam and Muhammad Zaheer Abbas, PhD

The Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) allows WTO Members to agree to temporarily waive obligations under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). However, the TRIPS Decision adopted by the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in June 2022, after lengthy and protracted negotiations lasting for 20 months in the middle of a pandemic, allowed only a fragment of the waiver proposal submitted by India and South Africa. Moreover, since the adoption of the Decision there has been an impasse in the WTO about extending the Decision to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics even though the WTO Members were mandated by the Decision to decide on this matter within six months of the Decision. This research paper analyses the current state of play and concludes that there is a need to immediately and unconditionally extend the Decision to COVID-19 diagnostics and therapeutics. Moreover, the paper suggests options for how the TRIPS flexibilities can be optimally utilized in a pandemic situation without developing countries being resigned to the vagaries of negotiations on a waiver which is supposed to be an urgent emergency solution. In this regard, the paper also suggests options that could be considered for reforming the process of decision-making on a waiver proposal to ensure that decisions on waivers are taken in a timely and expedited manner without being negotiated for an extensive period of time in the midst of an emergency.

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Research Paper 190, 24 January 2024

Implementing the Doha Declaration in OAPI Legislation: Do Transition Periods Matter?

By Patrick Juvet Lowé Gnintedem

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) provided for a number of transition periods allowing countries to engage in a phased implementation of their TRIPS obligations. More specifically, transition periods targeted the patenting of pharmaceutical products. The original deadlines for transition periods have expired for developed and developing country WTO members. However, based on the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health and subsequent TRIPS Council decisions, least developed countries (LDCs) continue to benefit from extended transition periods. In the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), after an amendment in 1999, the legal framework has evolved with the amendment of the Bangui Agreement, i.e., the Act of Bamako of 14 December 2015. As for the previous text, the newly amended Bangui Agreement consecrates the unification on industrial property amongst its seventeen Member States. The main objective of such an amendment remains to adapt its legal framework to the international environment and to the economic and social development needs of Member States. Yet only five OAPI Member States are developing countries; the twelve others are LDCs. Then the question arises: do transition periods consecrated pursuant to the Doha Declaration still matter for LDCs who have agreed to be subjected to the OAPI legislation? This paper points out that transition periods remain relevant in OAPI countries by application of the more favorable rule between the Bangui Agreement and the WTO TRIPS Council decisions. It is however noted that the OAPI current legal framework is still problematic, while its LDCs members are underutilizing this flexibility.

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South Centre Report, 16 January 2024

Identifying Legal Challenges for Farmers’ Innovation

By Saurav Ghimire

On 9 October 2023, an expert workshop on “Identifying Legal Challenges for Farmers’ Innovation” was organised at the Centre for Private and Economic Law, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in collaboration with the South Centre and Université Catholique de Louvain. The hybrid event gathered experts to discuss the challenges for farmers’ innovation, particularly those emerging from regulatory regimes. The workshop brainstormed policy and regulatory hindrances to farmers’ involvement in plant breeding, namely, in access to breeding materials, access to the market and reward/protection for the innovation.

The expert workshop was organised as a part of a joint research project, “Farmers as Plant Breeders: Legal Mechanisms to Foster Farmers’ Innovation”, led by Prof. Christine Frison (Université Catholique de Louvain), Prof. Kim Van der Borght (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), and  Prof. Carlos Correa (South Centre). The research project is funded by the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).

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Policy Brief 123, 14 December 2023

The WHO CA+ Discussions on Pathogen Access and Benefit Sharing: State of Play

 By Nirmalya Syam

This brief explores the scope of a World Health Organization (WHO) pathogen access and benefit-sharing (PABS) mechanism as a possible outcome of the negotiations ongoing in the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a WHO Convention, Agreement or other Instrument (WHO CA+) for pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (PPRR). After seven sessions of the INB, substantial differences remain between developed and developing countries on the PABS system. While the text contains specific obligations on rapid sharing of pathogen material and genetic sequence information reflective of the primary interest of developed countries to get such access outside the framework of the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity through a specialized WHO instrument such as the PABS system under the WHO CA+, the current text continues to be weak in terms of effectively operationalizing fair and equitable-benefit sharing. To that end, it is critical that detailed provisions on standard material transfer agreements, data access relating to their genomic sequence information and specific obligations on monetary and non-monetary benefit-sharing by recipients of pathogen material and sequence information are included in the provisions establishing the PABS system. Therefore, it is important that the proposals that have been made in this regard by developing countries are incorporated in the draft negotiating text.

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Research Paper 188, 7 December 2023

The Intersection Between Intellectual Property, Public Health and Access to Climate-Related Technologies

By Lívia Regina Batista

On the 20th anniversary of the Doha Declaration on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and Public Health adopted by the World Trade Organization, we realize that its impact is beyond issues of public health stricto sensu. The Doha Declaration has inspired discussions at the Council for TRIPS regarding access to climate-related technologies. Climate change is the main and most globalized environmental problem with adverse effects on public health, especially for the vulnerable communities in the Global-South. The main argument of the proponents of the discussion in the TRIPS Council is the need to rebalance public interests (such as public health and environmental/climate issues) with the private/economic interests of the most powerful countries and corporations. This debate addresses both the recognition of intellectual property rights as an important means for the promotion of technological innovation, and the required wider dissemination of technologies – be they medicines or climate-related technologies. This research paper explores the possibilities that the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration create for international transfer of climate-related technologies. Even though such discussions on climate-related technologies have initially failed in linking climate change and public health, as well as the rhetoric of human rights, the relevance of the topic remains. Besides that, the response to public health issues also must learn from the experience in climate change, such as the case studies evidencing the insufficiency and inefficiency of fast-tracking programs to provide for a wider dissemination of technologies – which have now been widely replicated to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Such comparison can also be an entrance point to discuss the public health implications for the international regime on climate change, highlighting that such issues are deeply intertwined, and need to be addressed jointly as well.

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Policy Brief 122, 30 November 2023

Data Access and the EU Data Strategy: Implications for the Global South

By Marc Stuhldreier

This study explores the value of data in the digital economy and the challenges surrounding data ownership, access rights, and equitable distribution of the value. It examines the European Data Strategy and highlights its shortcomings as well as its implications for the Global South. This contribution emphasises the need for unlocking the potential of collected data by enhancing accessibility and challenging protectionist measures and discusses the importance of fair competition and innovation. It also discusses the importance of balancing access rights with legitimate privacy concerns, trade secrets, and intellectual property rights. The paper concludes by highlighting the importance for developing countries to introduce tailored regulations that suit their specific needs, empowering them to seize opportunities and navigate the digital economy effectively.

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Documento de investigación 186, 14 de noviembre de 2023

Patentamiento de anticuerpos monoclonales. El caso de Argentina 

Por Juan Correa, Catalina de la Puente, Ramiro Picasso y Constanza Silvestrini

Este documento de investigación tiene como objeto identificar, describir y analizar las patentes concedidas por el Instituto Nacional de la Propiedad Industrial (INPI) de Argentina, en materia de anticuerpos monoclonales desde el año 2010 al 2020 inclusive. La investigación incluye la materia protegida y el universo de solicitantes, entre otros aspectos. Para ello, se procedió a construir una base de datos de patentes y solicitudes, donde se examinan las características de las patentes solicitadas y concedidas, titularidad y nacionalidad de los solicitantes, estado de las solicitudes, tiempo que demora la resolución de una patente solicitada y patentes divisionales. El documento presenta también recomendaciones de política pública aplicables a las patentes sobre anticuerpos monoclonales.

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SC Statement – Colombia, Dolutegravir, 3 de octubre de 2023

Colombia declara de interés público el uso de patente sobre Dolutegravir para incrementar el acceso a tratamiento a personas que viven con HIV

3 de octubre de 2023

El South Centre, el organismo intergubernamental de 55 países en desarrollo, celebra la decisión del Gobierno de Colombia de hacer uso gubernamental no comercial de una patente con el objetivo de garantizar que las personas que viven con VIH reciban tratamientos basados en Dolutegravir (DTG). Estos tratamientos son financiadas con recursos públicos asignados a la salud.

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Research Paper 184, 15 September 2023

Promoting Jordan’s Use of Compulsory Licensing During the Pandemic

By Laila Barqawi  

This paper addresses the difficulties in utilizing Article 31 bis of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) on compulsory licensing for the export of pharmaceuticals during the pandemic through the case study of Jordan. This paper also recommends that Jordanian officials seek to capitalize on the pandemic whilst the Jordanian Defense Law and Orders are in effect to include Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a direct ground for applying compulsory licensing, introduce clauses similar to those introduced by countries who have signed FTAs with the US, as well as deactivate harmful clauses within its national laws that prevent the application and utilization of a compulsory license. Further, Jordanian officials should seek the opportunity, considering the change of stance of the Biden administration towards compulsory licensing, to re-negotiate favourable terms in the Jordanian – US Free Trade Agreement (JUSFTA). Moreover, Jordanian officials should also form a syndicate that calls for the overhauling of TRIPS at Article 31 bis when an EUA is invoked in any country.

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