Comments to the Australian Senate Inquiry into Gene Patents

Jonathan Kahn, Lori Andrews and I filed comments on March 18, 2009 in response to the Australian Senate’s Community Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into Gene Patents, and whether to prohibit them. The comments explain the current state of American law in regard to biotechnological discoveries -- and particularly isolated and purified genetic sequences -- and how the provision of patents on genetic technologies has and will continue to create serious problems for innovation, health care, and society at large.

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MIT Adopts First Campus-Wide Open Access Mandate

Big news at MIT. By unanimous faculty vote, MIT adopted the first University-wide OA mandate in the United States for faculty authors. The driving force for this initiative on the faculty was Hal Abelson, with whom I have the honor to serve on the CC Board. I've also had the pleasure of working with the Director Libraries and the MIT Press, Ann Wolpert on various projects, who also played a central role and who, I am sure, will enthusiastically implement the new policy. Congratulations MIT!

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State Leaders Skeptical of Pfizer/Stanford Proposal for Developed-Country Commitments to High Drug Prices to Fund Pharmaceutical Innovation

State legislators from Arizona and Maine have written Stanford Professor John Barton opposing his proposal with Pfizer for a global trade framework to “discipline” pharmaceutical price negotiations, encouraging instead more efforts to develop and implement mechanisms “de-linking the cost of development and marketing of drugs from the price of the resulting products.”

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PIJIP/KEI Panel on Barton/Pfizer Proposal for Price Discrimination in Middle and Low-Income Nations

On February 19, 2009, Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) & Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) hosted a roundtable discussion featuring Stanford Professor of Law Emeritus John Barton and Pfizer Vice President of International Trade and Tax Joseph Damond. This event was a discussion of their proposal, outlined in a letter to Senator Max Baucus, for a framework to “protect our patents abroad but also demonstrate flexibility and compassion with respect to public health crises in the developing world.”

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Feminist Law Professors Blog

The Feminist Law Professors Blog has moved. Its new address is http://feministlawprofessors.com

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Pointing the Finger at Big Pharma - Dutch Seizure of Generic Medicines

Treatment and trade activists and developing countries are justly outraged at the decision of Dutch customs authorities to seize a cargo of 500 kilos of Losartan Potassium that was in transit in Rotterdam while on route from India to Brazil. The production of this API in India is completely lawful, as it is not under patent there, and its use in the formulation of medicines in Brazil is also lawful because there is no valid patent on the API or the final product in Brazil either. So, why did the Dutch customs officials have any even colorable jurisdiction to seize this in-transit shipment?

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Renewed Attack on Open Access in Congress

Yesterday Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) re-introduced the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act. This year it's H.R. 801 (last year it was H.R. 6845), and co-sponsored by Steve Cohen (D-TN), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Robert Wexler (D-FL). The bill language has not changed. Neither has the fact that there is no reasonable basis in law or in fact to support this legislation.

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Details Emerge of Secret ACTA Negotiation

There are plans for the next ACTA negotiation to take place in Rabat, Morocco. However, since none of the Obama trade people have been placed at USTR, this might be delayed. USTR is still maintaining secrecy over details of the negotiation, including the names of participants and all of the proposed texts for negotiations. Despite this, KEI has obtained some documents related to the negotiations. We can report the following...

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Is Pfizer Seeking a Trade Agreement to Raise the Price of the Medicines Donated to Programs in Developing Countries?

Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler and Stanford Professor John Barton have written Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, proposing a new international framework on drug pricing. They had been asked by the Chairman to try to find a way to “protect our patents abroad but also demonstrate flexibility and compassion with respect to public health crises in the developing world.”

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Why the U.S. Lost Its WTO IP Complaint Against China. Badly.

The World Trade Organization yesterday released its much-anticipated decision involving a U.S. complaint against China over its protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The U.S. quickly proclaimed victory, with newspaper headlines trumpeting the WTO panel's requirement that China reform elements of its intellectual property laws. ...anyone who bothers to work through the 147 page decision will find that the headlines get it wrong. The U.S. did not win this case, but rather lost badly.

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