[Ip-health] US industry patent lobby meeting with judges foiled
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Sun Nov 23 20:38:35 PST 2014
US industry patent lobby meeting with judges foiled
By Dilasha Seth & Soma Das, ET Bureau | 24 Nov, 2014, 04.00AM IST
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[image: Public health groups successfully prevented meetings that had been
scheduled between a visiting delegation of a US industry patent grouping
and judges of the Delhi High Court and the Intellectual Property Appellate
Board last week after questioning the propriety of such discussions.]Public
health groups successfully prevented meetings that had been scheduled
between a visiting delegation of a US industry patent grouping and judges
of the Delhi High Court and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board last
week after questioning the propriety of such discussions.
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NEW DELHI: Public health groups successfully prevented meetings that had
been scheduled between a visiting delegation of a US industry patent
grouping and judges of the Delhi High Court
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Delhi-High-Court> and the
Property Appellate Board
last week after questioning the propriety of such discussions, people
familiar with the matter told ET.
Members of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), a group
representing the interests of IP owners from companies across sectors, met
government officials, including those from the Department of Industrial
Policy and Promotion and patent offices, during their seven-day visit.
Their plans to hold meetings at the Delhi High Court and IPAB
<http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/IPAB> had to be put off after
patients groups, health activists and public interest lawyers objected,
calling these efforts 'blatant attempts to influence judicial outcomes in
cases relating to drug patent disputes that are currently before the
[image: US industry patent lobby meeting with judges foiled]IPR issues have
emerged as contentious points in Indo-US ties. The public interest groups
said in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, HL Dattu, that
IPO's members include pharmaceutical multinationals Bristol-Myers Squibb
and Pfizer Inc, which have cases pending before the IPAB and the Delhi High
"Providing privileged access of an IP lobby group to the highest levels of
the judiciary and key quasi-judicial bodies like the IPAB, involves a
serious conflict of interest and would cast a dark shadow on the neutrality
of the judiciary," they said in the letter. IPO did not respond to ET's
queries seeking comment on the cancellation of the meetings.
Earlier, similar pressure from activists had prompted the recusal of
Supreme Court Judge Dalveer Bhandari from the high-profile Novartis case at
an advanced stage of hearings in 2011. Bhandari withdrew after health
activists objected to his participation in two international conferences
for judges hosted by IPO, whose members included Novartis.
The case concluded two years later with the apex court turning down the
plea by Novartis to grant a patent to its cancer drug Glivec. Pharma
industry experts told ET that industry groups should not seek such
exclusive meetings with judges.
"That's the norm across the world. Interactions of the judiciary with the
industry on a public forum are still considered acceptable. In fact,
meetings of the foreign delegation with government officials should also be
held under protocol as these are usually bilateral arrangements," said
Ramesh Adige, a former executive director of Ranbaxy Laboratories.
"These meetings provide opportunities for indirect lobbying and clearly
violate code of ethics. Why do these companies and industry representatives
want to share their experiences and perspectives on intellectual property
with the judiciary in bilateral and exclusive settings?" said KM Gopakumar
of Third World Network, an international non-profit organisation that works
on developmental issues including access to medicines. Gopakumar was among
those who signed the letter objecting to IPO's meetings last week.
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