India Threatens European Union: ‘Don’t Stop Flow of Illegal Drugs’

India’s Commerce Ministry drew attention to the “plight” of producers of infringing copies of vaccines last week, highlighting a need to quell the dangers of swine flu, whose vaccine is in legal development and as we speak (WHO Link):

[Indian Company] Cipla has produced a generic version of the antiviral drug Tamiflu for sale to developing countries but no one, including India itself [emphasis added], has so far been willing to buy it, either because of financial constraints or concerns over violating intellectual property laws.

 The Financial Times does an excellent job of explaining the “request” :

Myth One: The World is So Challenged by Swine Flu, It Should Allow the Unapproved, Illegal Flow of Drugs:

“When the world is being challenged in another area, by swine flu, India is one of the countries that has been mandated by the World Health Organisation as ­having the capacity to develop vaccine along with other major countries,” Mr Sharma told the Financial Times on a visit to Seoul.

Myth Two: India is Producing Illegal Drugs Out of Own Heart to Meet Global Health Needs:

Mr Sharma’s comments are an escalation of a dispute over protectionism between India and one of its main trading partners… India’s pharmaceutical industry is one of the sectors of India’s fast-growing economy worst hit by the global economic downturn.

Myth Three: India Is Trying to Solve the Problem:

India’s commerce ministry declined to say when it might file a complaint at the WTO against the EU over drugs seizures… “[A resolution with the EU] might be in the process through discussions. But as of now we have no reason to change our stand,” said Rajeev Kher, a joint secretary of commerce.

This story is courtesy of the Financial Times. In order to access the article, you must register (free).

Sharing & Promoting Innovative Technology in Public-Private Global Development Partnerships

Sharing and Promoting Innovative Technology in Public-Private Global Development Partnerships

World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum, Geneva

September 29, 2009

The World Trade Organization Public Forum has become one of the most important platforms for dialogue among stakeholders of the multilateral trading system. Each year representatives from key international agricultural and development agencies attended the Public Forum as panellists and participants. The Public Forum draws significant attention from governments, non-government organizations, academics, businesses and the mass media.

This year, CropLife International is assembling a diverse panel with substantial experience to offer their views on innovative solutions to critical global agricultural problems on Tuesday, September 29 (16:30-18:30) in Geneva.

Panelists will discuss:

  1. The increasing importance of public-private partnerships for development;
  2. How such partnerships stimulate, protect, and share innovation, and
  3. The case of agricultural innovation as an example of the role of public-private global development partnerships in stimulating, protecting, and sharing innovation

Technological advances can play a particularly central role in addressing agricultural challenges such as drought and destructive pests. Meeting these challenges sustainably will require new ideas, tools and technologies. The WTO Public Forum is an excellent opportunity to have a productive discussion on these important topics; we look forward to your participation.

Invited Panelists:

  • Mr. Grant D. Aldonas – Senior Associate, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Invited)
  • Dr. Gerard F. Barry – Head, IPMU and Program 4 Leader, Golden Rice Network Coordinator, International Rice Research Institute (Invited)
  • Professor Sir Gordon Conway – Chair in International Development, Imperial College London, Imperial College (Confirmed)
  • Mr. Gavin Power – Deputy Director and Head of Financial Markets, UN Global Compact (Invited)

For more information, visit Croplife’s website.

BIO Urges Supreme Court to Reject Rigid Bilski Rule

New patent test has fundamental implications far beyond business methods

Washington, D.C. (August 6, 2009) – In an amicus brief filed today, BIO urged the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Bilski v. Doll.

In its decision, the Court of Appeals created a new test under which a method or process is only patent-eligible if it is tied to a specific machine or if it transforms a particular article or substance to a different state or thing. This test, which has become known as the “machine-or-transformation” test, is now the eligibility threshold that a patent application has to meet before it is examined for novelty, inventiveness, and usefulness.

“In 1980, the Supreme Court defined patent-eligible subject matter in a flexible and inclusive way that has fostered the tremendous growth of biotechnology for the benefit of millions of patients, farmers, and consumers around the world,” stated BIO General Counsel Tom DiLenge.  “If the Court of Appeals’ contrary approach in the Bilski case is permitted to stand, it would create uncertainty that would negatively impact investment in biotechnology, and thus stifle future growth of this remarkably beneficial industry.”

The biotechnology industry is among the many stakeholders that are concerned about this new rule because it applies to all technologies, even though it was crafted to deal with business methods and abstract, disembodied processes involving logical operations and human thinking. 

“The implications of this case for biological, diagnostic, and personalized medicine methods that depend on biomarkers or other correlations between a genetic or physiological predisposition and disease-susceptibility or likelihood of treatment success must be carefully considered by the Supreme Court,” stated DiLenge.  “This new rule could be applied in biotechnology patent litigation with very unclear and unsettling results.”

“Requiring that biotechnology process claims be tied to a machine or a transformation could jeopardize already-issued biotechnology claims and will create uncertainty surrounding future grants of biotechnology patents in these areas,” DiLenge concluded.

BIO Marks Passing of Stanford Professor Emeritus John Barton: ‘Far Ahead of his Time’

On August 3, 2009, John H. Barton, George E. Osborne Professor of Law, Emeritus at Stanford Law School, passed away. BIO marks his early passing by remembering his focused personal commitment and intellectual drive to understand, teach, and shape legal science and technology policy. Barton spoke to the IP Counsels Committee at a previous IP Counsels Committee Conference, in 2008.

A few of his accomplishments and goals (Stanford):  

John Barton devoted his academic career to the examination of questions at the intersection of science and the law. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Professor Barton’s scholarship focused on international law concerns ranging from national defense, to the distribution of intellectual property rights across the developed and undeveloped world, to improving the health of billions of the world’s poorest people. He provided calm and reasoned advice to many institutions involved in making global policies. He helped arbitrate international debates on contentious issues and was known for his ability to marshal consensus through the careful examination of empirical evidence. For example he recommended a balanced approach to the adoption of uniform standards for the world’s patents and copyrights based on historical analysis that revealed a rigid global standard hinders technology growth in the Third World. His recent work involved the transfer of technologies in the healthcare and climate change sectors, and the development of a political theory of international organization and globalization.

Professor Barton was active in Stanford’s academic community for over 40 years:

“John was a wonderful colleague,” said Hank Greely of the Stanford Law School faculty. “He had a rigorous scientific mind that he applied to all kinds of problems, scholarly and otherwise. He loved figuring out how new technologies and old societies would affect each other, but he was always driven not just to understand, but to make the world a better place–safer from nuclear war, safer from the ravages of disease. His too early death is truly a tragedy.”

Stanford will hold a memorial service August 16 at 4:00 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Los Altos, as well as an additional remembrance event later this fall.

Innovation Alliance: Patent Holders Weigh In On Patent Reform

For more information on the Innovation Alliance, visit


New Video: Patent Holders Weigh In On Patent Reform

Innovation is at the heart of America’s economic strength and the U.S. patent system is a critical success factor. While some are advocating reforms that will weaken the patent system, we need your help in strengthening it.

Our system is the envy of the world for good reason. It enables start-ups to obtain venture capital and grow, and large companies to invest in R&D – both of which drive technology advances and create jobs. However, the system is being stretched to its limits, straining to effectively protect inventions, and ultimately driving innovation offshore.

The Innovation Alliance supports patent reform that will provide resources to strengthen the U.S. patent system. We’re working to ensure that patent applications are thoroughly reviewed and protected – which includes hiring additional skilled examiners at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Please take a moment to view a brief video featuring patent holders, explaining in their own words the value of a strong patent system at