[Ip-health] Academics' Expert Letter on LDCs' TRIPS Extension Request

Baker, Brook b.baker at neu.edu
Mon Apr 22 07:05:10 PDT 2013

Several of us are soliciting signatures from legal and other academics around the world who focus on human rights, intellectual property, trade, and development and who are in favor of the request by WTO least developed country Members that they be granted an extension of the time period within which they must become compliant with the TRIPS Agreement.  WTO LDC Members were initially given an extension with respect to all TRIPS requirements except national and most favored nation treatment until 2006.  That transition period was further extended until June 30, 2013 in 2005 (a separate extension was granted on pharmaceuticals only until 2016) but with some unfortunate conditions (beyond the unreasonably short term), such as a requirement that LDCs must keep their current level of IP protections, something that was not required by TRIPS Article 66.1.  The  current request from LDC Members is for an unconditional extension of the transition period so long as an LDC Member is an LDC.  It is hoped that a longer and unconditional extension permitting rollback of improvidently adopted IP standards will allow LDCs to build their technological base and improve limiting domestic capacities.  This request has received support from 350 civil society organizations, from some industry groups, from several multilateral organizations, and from many developing country members of the WTO.

We are seeking signatures beyond those who focus primarily on access to medicine, to academics who are also concerned about IP impacts in LDCs on access to information (especially IT, educational, and scientific resources), agricultural resources, green and climate control/mitigation technologies, and development more generally.  We already have 30 signers, including several leading international IP and trade experts.

We need help getting the letter distributed to a broader group of global academics, so would greatly appreciate your efforts in this regard.

There is some urgency since the US and EU are ramping up their pressure on LDCs to impose a short and highly conditionalized extension and the final TRIPS Council meeting will happen soon.  Therefore, we will be collecting signatures until April 26.  Please send your sign-ons to me:  b.baker at neu.edu<mailto:b.baker at neu.edu>.

Professor Brook K. Baker

Health GAP (Global Access Project)
Northeastern U. School of Law
Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy
400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115 USA
Honorary Research Fellow, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, S. Africa
(w) 617-373-3217
(cell) 617-259-0760
(fax) 617-373-5056
b.baker at neu.edu

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