[Ip-health] WTO: Spotlight on the United States at the Trade Policy Review (December 2016)

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Feb 8 20:02:46 PST 2017


Submitted by thiru <http://keionline.org/user/6> on 7. February 2017 - 14:07

In December 2016, during the twilight of President Barack Obama's 44th
presidency, the World Trade Organization (WTO) conducted a Trade Policy
Review (TPR) of the United States of America. All members of the WTO are
subject to review under the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM). The TPRM
takes place in the "Trade Policy Review Body which is actually the WTO
General Council — comprising the WTO’s full membership — operating under
special rules and procedures" (Source: WTO, Trade Policy Reviews: Brief
Introduction) <https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp_int_e.htm>.

The questions raised by WTO members during the US TPR included, *inter alia*,
Bayh-Dole provisions, the implementation of the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty for
the Blind, compulsory licensing and government use provisions, US state
practice on standards essential patents and the United Nations
Secretary-General's High-Level Panel (UN HLP). KEI obtained the 391 paged
room document "unofficial room document" (RD/TPR/740, 19 December 2016)
containing the advance written questions submitted by WTO Members and the
responses provided by the United States.

Although the proceedings of the WTO TRIPS Council have received much
scrutiny during discussions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Paragraph
6 system, innovation and intellectual property, the Havana Rum case and
tobacco plain packaging, the WTO’s trade policy reviews have not
traditionally attracted the same level of attention. While discussions
within the Trade Policy Review Mechanism are often routine in nature, this
is not always the case – as this post will highlight. Perhaps a more
diligent examination of the goings-on of the WTO's Trade Policy Review
Mechanism is merited, to provide more insight into how TRIPS flexibilities
are treated in the WTO system.

The following piece is a walk-through of the December 2016 trade policy
review of the United States in the context of IPRs and access to knowledge.

Please see the following link for the full content (as it is a lengthy


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