[Ip-health] European generic drug companies ask EU Parliament to remove patents from ACTA

James Love james.love at keionline.org
Fri Nov 5 02:24:49 PDT 2010


European generic drug companies ask EU Parliament to remove patents from

The European Generics Association has written to the European Parliament
asking that patents be removed from the Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement. A
PDF copy of their letter is here [1]. The text in html follows:

MEP Mr. Gianluca Susta
INTA Committee
European Parliament
1049 Bruxelles- Belgium
Brussels, 5th of November 2010

Ref. EGA comments to the consolidated text on ACTA that reflects changes
made during the

September 2010 Tokyo round1.

Dear Mr. Susta,

I am writing to express the views of the European generic medicines
industry concerning the draft ACTA Agreement. The EGA understands and
fully supports the basic principles of ACTA, which is the prevention of
counterfeiting and piracy. The EGA and its companies and national
associations are fully committed to combating counterfeit medicines. EGA
is an active and supportive member of both the WHO’s IMPACT group and
the Council of Europe’s Committee of experts on minimizing public health
risks posed by counterfeiting of medical products.

However, our industry has serious concerns regarding the current
approach when measures to combat counterfeiting and piracy are simply
generalized as applicable to all forms of IP rights2 as is proposed by
the European Commission in ACTA. In particular using the same approach
is not justified for patents. It is in fact a dangerous precedent to
abolish distinction between piracy/counterfeiting and alleged
infringement of patent rights - this would mean to equal all alleged
patent infringers with criminals like pirates/counterfeiters.

In this context we would like to ask you to support the footnote3
proposed by the US that excludes patents from the scope of Section 2 on
Civil Enforcement. The inclusion of patents in Section 2 could be used
to prevent competition. The criminal penalties and preventive measures
aimed at counterfeiters can be misused by patent holders to stop
legitimate competition from other companies producing similar products,
especially where the applicability of patents is complex. In addition,
there is a common misconception that if a patent is awarded then it is
necessarily valid. This is incorrect and many ‘weak’ patents later on
are revoked. The implications on companies, particularly SMEs, can be
punitive as vital revenues are lost and legal costs grow. Moreover,
there is major loss to society as consumers and health systems have lost
access to substantially less expensive treatments due to the delay of
generic entry.

Please also note that the WHO’s IMPACT made recommendations on how best
to deal with counterfeit pharmaceuticals including stringent regulatory
procedures, improved training for customs officers and quality control
inspectors, and increased public and health professional awareness.
However, IP enforcement was not regarded as the most appropriate
measure. A definition of counterfeit was even proposed in the third
meeting of IMPACT in Hamamet that excluded patent disputes4.

In conclusion, the measures proposed in ACTA, which are designed to deal
with the criminal activity of counterfeiting and piracy, are not
appropriate for patents and would ask you to support their exclusion
from the final agreement.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need more information on the

Yours sincerely,

Greg Perry
EGA Director General

1 Informal Predecisional/Deliberative Draft: 2 October 2010
2 In this context it seems important to emphasize that the infringement
of various types of IP
rights (patents, trademarks, designs, registration dossiers, copyright
etc.) should be strictly
separated from each other.
3 Footnote {US: For the purpose of this Agreement, Parties agree that
patents do not fall within
the scope of this Section.}

Source URL: http://keionline.org/node/1009
[1] http://keionline.org/sites/default/files/EGAletterMEPSACTA2010.pdf
James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org | http://www.twitter.com/jamie_love
Wk: +1.202.332.2670 | US Mobile +1.202.361.3040 | Geneva Mobile +41.76.413.6584

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