Japan's Emerging Role in the Global Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Regime: A Tale of Two Trade Agreements

Journal of World Intellectual Property, February 2018, DOI: 10.1111/jwip.12099

26 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2018

See all articles by Belinda Townsend

Belinda Townsend

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet)

Deborah Gleeson

La Trobe University

Ruth Lopert

George Washington University - Department of Health Policy; LWC Policy Consulting Inc.

Date Written: June 6, 2017

Abstract

This paper explores Japan’s role in reshaping the global pharmaceutical intellectual property regime by examining its position on the expansion of intellectual property rights (IPR) in negotiations for two regional trade agreements: the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Through systematic analysis of leaked negotiating texts documenting its positions on key issues, we demonstrate Japan is now playing a pivotal role in promoting the adoption of expanded IPRs. We show that its position as IPR champion in the Asia Pacific region reflects a domestic strategy initiated in 2013 to bolster pharmaceutical export growth. Drawing on past experience and focusing on the RCEP negotiations, we explore ways in which low and middle income countries might respond to this shift in order to protect and promote access to medicines.

Keywords: access to medicines, TRIPS, intellectual property, TPP, RCEP, trade, Trans Pacific Partnership, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Japan, pharmaceuticals

JEL Classification: F13, F59, F69, I18

Suggested Citation

Townsend, Belinda and Gleeson, Deborah and Lopert, Ruth, Japan's Emerging Role in the Global Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Regime: A Tale of Two Trade Agreements (June 6, 2017). Journal of World Intellectual Property, February 2018, DOI: 10.1111/jwip.12099 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3119315

Belinda Townsend (Contact Author)

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Deborah Gleeson

La Trobe University ( email )

School of Psychology and Public Health
Victoria, 3068
Australia
+61 3 9479 3262 (Phone)

Ruth Lopert

George Washington University - Department of Health Policy ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

LWC Policy Consulting Inc. ( email )

Washington, DC 20005

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