As blogged about last year by Shamnad the controversial E.U. Regulation 1383/2003 has been interpreted differently by English Courts and the Dutch Courts. The English Courts had interpreted the legislation in a manner prohibiting the Customs Authorities from seizing consignments of counterfeit goods that were transiting through its territories. The Dutch Courts on the other hand were interpreting the regulation to seize several consignments, that were transiting through its territories, on the grounds that they were violating the E.U. IP laws. In this backdrop the E.U.’s decision to amend its laws is a legal victory for India.
The E.U’s decision assumes special significance since it has been made in the backdrop of the negotiations on the Indo-E.U. FTA talks which should be concluding in New Delhi today. Patient groups are up in arms against the current round of talks since they fear that the E.U.’s demand for data exclusivity will severely affect the availability of new life-savings drugs in India and the rest of the developing world.
It remains to be seen whether the E.U.’s decision to change its laws is linked to a compromise by the Indian Government on the Indo-E.U. FTA.