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
"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
Brazilian patent law recognizes the primacy of compulsory license over
trademark in cases deemed national emergencies, and AIDS fits that
The ethical issue -- whether labs should refuse to lower the cost of
their drugs for developing countries -- also strikes a deep chord in
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
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
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
"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
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