Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thai NGOs object to IP provisions in proposed Thai EU FTA

IP Komodo reported previously on data exclusivity arguments in Thailand. Now a coalition of 18 NGOS have written an open letter to the EU delegation to Thailand. The letter refers to the various TRIPS+ provisions proposed for inclusion in the upcoming trade agreement negotiations. These include border measures, data exclusivity, patent term extensions, and protection for new indications.
The letter argues these block access to generic medicines. They argue this is a violation of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, as well as the European Parliament's own Resolution on Major and Neglected Diseases in Developing Countries. The group argues that the EU should not therefore proceed with the agreement on this basis.

Specific concerns include:

a. Border measure proposals to intercept IP infringing goods merely in transit hinder the flow of legitimate generics between countries where they do not infringe. The ACTA agreement has been rejected but the EU is proceeding with similar provisions anyway they said.
b. Data exclusivity as reported previously
c. Extension of patent terms - supplementary protection periods that extend patent life, due to regulatory approval delays
d. Stricter IP protection enforcement
e. Data exclusivity rules on new indications for pharma compounds

IP Komodo observes how bilateral agreements are increasingly the way of IP changes being introduced into trading partnerships (some say foisted onto developing countries...). Its a difficult position for many emerging economies in South East Asia. They want to become knowledge economies, but until their laws and practices are those of true knowledge economies, they are caught in a bind. They have to start somewhere and balance the introduction of developed laws with the emergence of their own technical industries. On occasions that means putting into place stricter laws to get other benefits.

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