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Chris McElroy aka NameCritic

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[ga-udrp] Re: International Intellectual property

AIDS Drugs: U.S. vs. the World
By Paulo RebÍlo

2:00 a.m. May 31, 2001 PDT

Nevertheless, U.S. labs are trying to stop the production of the generics used in Brazil -- known as antiretroviral drugs -- since they derive from formulas developed and patented in the United States. The Brazilian manufacturers do not pay royalties.

In 1998, moved by the high cost of AIDS-fighting drugs, Brazil's government decided to analyze trademarked drugs and produce its own generic antiretroviral drugs.

From the standpoint of being an effective strategy, it worked. According to Far-Manguinhos lab, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil imports the ingredients from Asia and produces 12 drugs that keep AIDS under control for 200,000 Brazilians.

"Our task is purely social," says Eloan Pinheiro, director of Far-Manguinhos. The lab produces dozens of drugs used against diseases, like malaria, that have largely vanished from developed countries.

Reports from Brazil's health ministry say that the current program has reduced AIDS deaths by half. It has improved the quality of life for thousands of people living with the disease, from the richest to the poorest.

"Brazil can only afford the producing expenditures because we don’t pay market prices," says Health Minister Josť Serra. Actually, drugs produced in Brazil are 79 percent cheaper to make, according to Far-Manguinhos.

The trademark issue flared when the United Nations encouraged other countries to follow Brazil's example and begin manufacturing their own drugs based on patented formulas. The move was opposed by the United States.

Brazilian patent law recognizes the primacy of compulsory license over trademark in cases deemed national emergencies, and AIDS fits that description easily.

The ethical issue -- whether labs should refuse to lower the cost of their drugs for developing countries -- also strikes a deep chord in Brazil.

In April, the United Nations agreed with Brazil's position, with 52 of 53 nations voting to accept the notion of ignoring patents in favor of developing badly needed drugs. The lone holdout was the United States, which voted to protect the patents of pharmaceutical products. While the vote was not an official resolution, "it has a very strong political, moral and ethic appeal," said Celso Amorim, Brazil's ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

Researchers argue with the WTO that they need worldwide patent protection to recoup the millions spent on research and development of the anti-AIDS drugs.

But Brazil's president, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, chooses ethics over profits: "We’re not trying to challenge anyone. We don’t want to overstep patents at any price. But for the health of our nation, we won’t hesitate."

Replies Robert Zoellick, U.S. trade representative: "Certain countries try to justify the use of protectionist measures by associating these issues with the AIDS crisis when no such linkage exists."

According to Zoellick, "the U.S. won’t hesitate in using its total strength and international laws to modify the situation."

Dr. Paulo Teixeira, head of the Brazilian program on AIDS, said it would be disastrous if the USTR is left to call the shots, to the point of being able to dictate to other countries how to conduct their AIDS strategies.

"If that happens, we’re doomed," he said.

According to Teixeira, USTR reports defend some anti-AIDS programs, such as those in Thailand, Senegal and Uganda. But those countries don't insist upon wide access or the self-production of antiretroviral medicines.

Brazil, it seems, is No. 1 leper at the USTR, says Teixeira.

"They exclude Brazil when it comes to anti-AIDS programs."

The link to this is http://www.wirednews.com/news/politics/0,1283,44175,00.html


It's another example that US intellectual property rights protection at any cost is not going to be accepted by the world. While many here in the US think that protecting their marks is some supreme mandate everyone should respect and adhere to, it is not the case everywhere in the world. Domain Names are international. There is no right that exists for absolute protection on any use of the words contained in a TM. Only if the TM'ed words are filed as a domain name and the owner of the domain name engages in the same business as the TM Holder. The UDRP has been used to steal other's property due to misapplication of TM Law. The UDRP must be changed to reflect that TM protection cannot be extended past the classes the TM exists to protect. Just owning the same name as a TM is NOT an infringement. Use of it to compete in the same class is. That is a rather large distinction that WIPO and the UDRP have ignored.




RECIFE, Brazil -– The Brazilian health system is a model to the world when it comes to fighting AIDS. But it faces the wrath of labs in the United States, which want to regain control of their patents on generic medicines used to fight the disease.

Brazil is the only Latin American nation providing free triple therapy, which almost pays for itself by reducing the costs for hospitalization and drugs.