Balancing Public Health, Trade and Intellectual Monopoly Privileges: Recent Australian IP Legislation and the TPPA
Vines T, Crow K, Faunce TA. Balancing Public Health, Trade and Intellectual Monopoly Privileges: Recent Australian IP Legislation and the TPPA. Journal of Law and Medicine 2012; 20: 280-294.
15 Pages Posted: 2 May 2013
Date Written: March 2, 2013
Over the past year, several significant reforms to Australia’s intellectual property regime have been proposed and passed by Parliament. The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Raising the Bar) Act 2012 (Cth) made various improvements to Australian patent law, including an improved threshold for patentability, greater clarity around “usefulness” requirements, and the introduction of an experimental use exemption from infringement. Another Bill, the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2012 (Cth), currently out for public consultation, would implement a 2003 decision of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) General Council and the 2005 Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health (Doha Declaration). If enacted, this Bill would facilitate equitable access to essential medicines by amending the compulsory licensing regime set out in the Patents Act 1990 (Cth). The underlying intention of this Bill – meeting public health goals outlined in the 2005 Doha Declaration – stands in juxtaposition to proposed reforms to intellectual property standards pursuant to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade and Investment Agreement (TPPA) that Australia is involved in. Although at a preliminary stage, leaked drafts of relevant intellectual property provisions in the TPPA suggest a privileging of patent monopoly privileges over public health goals. This column weighs the sentiments of the proposed Bill against those of the proposed provisions in the TPPA.
Keywords: Intellectual monopoly privileges, patents, intellectual property, trade agreements
JEL Classification: K22, K11, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation