[Ip-health] WIPO General Assembly 2014: Opening Statement of Knowledge Ecology International

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Sep 23 08:58:50 PDT 2014


Submitted by thiru <http://keionline.org/user/6> on 23. September 2014 -

On Tuesday, 23 September 2014, Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
delivered this opening statement on the occasion of the Fifty-Fourth Series
of Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of the World
Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Thank you Madame Chair for providing Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
the opportunity to speak today.

2013 marked the successful conclusion of the Marrakesh Treaty, the
culmination of a 5 year negotiation to facilitate the cross-border sharing
of protected works for persons who are blind, visually impaired and reading
disabled. The Treaty has yet to enter into force and to this end, we urge
member states to intensify their efforts to ratify this Treaty. We request
the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) to review the
technical assistance relating to the treaty, to ensure that countries have
information about implementation strategies that are not complex or

The Marrakesh treaty began a debate on the three step test, and we hope
this discussion continues, for greater sophistication and understanding
about where the three-step test applies, and where the three-step test does
not apply, and how it should be evaluated in a manner consistent with
social and development objectives.

One of the challenges for WIPO will be to fashion a pragmatic and
thoughtful strategy for addressing norm setting in the area of user rights
in copyright, and exceptions that relate to institutions like schools and
libraries that serve end users. WIPO is also being asked to resolve the
outstanding requests for new legal protections for broadcasting
organizations. KEI hopes that in all cases, WIPO will identify the problems
it is being asked to solve, and relate norm setting, if required, to those
problems, in ways to promote the public interest and expand lawful access
to knowledge.

In discussions of patents and health, we ask WIPO to take note of
discussions at the World Health Organization on the delinkage of R&D costs
from the prices of health technologies. In our view, unless R&D costs and
rewards for successful investments are delinked from product prices, it
will be impossible to imagine access to medicine for all, a mandate of the
2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.

We underscore our support for the African Group/Development Agenda Group
submission to the SCP on patents and health. We note that technical
assistance experts often fail to distinguish between compulsory licenses
that are granted under the procedures of Part II of the TRIPS, concerning
patent rights, and those granted under Part III of the TRIPS, concerning
the remedies for infringement of those rights. For example, the most
commonly used mechanisms for obtaining a compulsory license in the United
States are those associated with Part III of the TRIPS, including in
particular Article 44 of the TRIPS. Under the structure of the TRIPS
agreement, Article 44 compulsory licenses are not subject to the
restrictions that exist for Article 30 and 31 of the TRIPS. Consequently,
we support the African Group/DAG request for the International Bureau to
Organize a technical workshop on state practice involving the compulsory
licensing of medical technologies, including the application of TRIPS
Articles 30, 31 and 44.

Regarding the WIPO Development Agenda, we would like to recall the words of
the Chilean Ambassador who reminded us that the Development Agenda was not
a one-off event, but rather an indissoluble part of the Organization.

*END, KEI Statement on Agenda. Item 5.*
Additional Written Comments for the Record


Finally, we urge member states to take a larger role in the management of
the WIPO office of the chief economist, and the WIPO work on Global

It is not obvious to KEI that those offices are providing support that will
address the pressing needs to overcome access barriers to new drugs for
cancer, and to identify areas where the existing systems of exclusive
rights impose unacceptable costs on society, and fail to stimulate
innovation to meet important needs.

In this regard, member states may want to reflect on the type of economic
analysis that would help member states understand the costs and benefits of
extended terms for patents and copyrights, to evaluate the merits of
alternatives to exclusive rights, including those implemented within the
existing WTO TRIPS framework, as well as scenarios that would require
changes in that framework.

Any system for inducing investments in R&D for cancer drugs that excludes
access by 80 percent of the global population is morally repugnant, and
WIPO should be among those engaged in fixing and reforming this.

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