[Ip-health] [A2k] De Gucht's response on ACTA, inclusion of patents and access to medicines

Benjamin Henrion bh at udev.org
Fri Jul 9 08:16:43 PDT 2010

On Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 4:40 PM, Malini Aisola
<malini.aisola at keionline.org> wrote:
> Commissioner De Gucht has responded to the following question from MEP
> Ska Keller (Greens/EFA) sent to the Commission on June 7, 2010
>        Source:
>        http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT
>        +WQ+P-2010-4063+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN
>        India and Brazil have initiated action against the EU over the
>        seizures of generic drugs in transit, through the WTO dispute
>        settlement process. I hope that the matter will be resolved in
>        this initial phase during the period of consultation.
>        Is the Commission aware of concerns voiced by India, during a
>        Greens/EFA briefing on ACTA on 4 May, related to proposed
>        TRIPS-plus provisions in ACTA that could threaten legitimate
>        trade in generic medicines and global public health?
>        How can the Commission pursue such provisions in ACTA that
>        clearly breach commitments under the Doha Declaration on the
>        TRIPS Agreement and Public Health and the ‘Global strategy and
>        plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual
>        property’ (WHA Resolution 61.21), and are obviously linked to
>        the dispute settlement proceedings against the EU?
>        How will the Commission ensure that these unjustifiable
>        provisions being pursued in ACTA, which would endanger access to
>        medicines, will stop immediately? In Parliament’s resolution on
>        the transparency and state of play of the ACTA negotiations of
>        10 March 2010, we clearly asked the Commission to limit the ACTA
>        negotiations to combating only counterfeiting. I would like to
>        know if patents are still being considered within the scope of
>        ACTA. I would also like to know whether the Commission has made
>        any effort to consult with public health groups to understand
>        their concerns regarding the impact proposed ACTA provisions
>        could have on innovation and access to medicines.
> The answer dated July 8 follows:
>        P-4063/10EN
>        Answer given by Mr De Gucht
>        on behalf of the Commission
>        (8.7.2010)
>        The Commission is aware of very recent public statements by the
>        Indian Government expressing general concerns about the possible
>        negative impact of ACTA on access to medecines by developing
>        countries.
>        The Commission can assure the Honourable Member that there are
>        no provisions in the ACTA text being currently negotiated that
>        could directly or indirectly affect the legitimate trade in
>        generic medicines or, more broadly, global public health. This
>        can be easily confirmed through an examination of the
>        negotiating text, which is publicly available on the
>        Commission's website. [1]
>        Furthermore, this important principle has been re-affirmed in
>        unequivocal terms by all the ACTA negotiating parties in a joint
>        communiqué [2] released after the last negotiating round: "ACTA
>        […] will be consistent with the WTO Agreement on Trade Related
>        Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and
>        will respect the Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health".
>        The Parliament’s Resolution on the transparency and state of
>        play of the ACTA negotiations of 10 March 2010, makes explicit
>        reference to counterfeiting (paragraph 9), which relates to
>        trademarks, but also to copyright (paragraph 10). With respect
>        to both intellectual property rights (IPR), the Resolution calls
>        on the Commission to negotiate enforcement clauses within the
>        boundaries of applicable European Union legislation. The
>        Commission confirms that ACTA will remain in line with the EU
>        acquis, including the current level of harmonisation of IPR
>        enforcement.
>        The Commission holds the view that it is important for ACTA to
>        cover not only trademark counterfeiting, since a wide range of
>        EU economic operators rely on economic activities that need
>        various forms of intellectual property protection (e.g.
>        geographical indications for high quality agricultural products,
>        patents for innovative industries, designs for fashion and

So the Commission is pushing for patents in the scope of ACTA.

Benjamin Henrion <bhenrion at ffii.org>
FFII Brussels - +32-484-566109 - +32-2-4148403
"In July 2005, after several failed attempts to legalise software
patents in Europe, the patent establishment changed its strategy.
Instead of explicitly seeking to sanction the patentability of
software, they are now seeking to create a central European patent
court, which would establish and enforce patentability rules in their
favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or
democratically elected legislators."

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