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The Trans-Pacific Partnership has been signed!


(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/hmyABh)

(Image Source: https://flic.kr/p/hmyABh)

In one of the most significant and, quite possibly the most damaging, developments in the IPR world in the recent past, the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (‘TPP’) has finally been signed! The document has been agreed-to between the United States and 11 other nations, including Canada, Japan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, and Mexico, from the Pacific Rim after nearly eight years of confidential negotiation. We have commented on the TPP earlier here, here, here, and here. The landmark document, possibly the largest regional trade accord in history, has been extremely contentious, with concerns being raised by civil society members and political actors alike; even the nations involved themselves faced multiple issues with the deal through-out the eight year period.

Clearly, the nations involved in the deal have reached an acceptable compromise, though the deal is not complete yet as it must still pass through the US Congress and be accepted by it. What remains to be seen is how badly the compromise in question affects the public at-large, and what the civil society thinks of the same. Due to the secrecy associated with the deal, the document itself is highly classified. Even though various earlier drafts were leaked (for anyone who is interested, the latest leaked version of the TPP’s IP Chapter is available here), the final document is not going to be released for a minimum of one month, possibly longer. Substantive commentary on the TPP will therefore probably have to wait till the document is released onto the public domain. Till then, we can only wait and hope that the final version of the TPP that was agreed to is improved from its previous iterations, and less compromising on human rights.

Crucially, an increase in the global norms with regards to IPR protection is particularly concerning for India, and other countries in similar positions, as it adds to the already mounting international political pressure towards amending our laws to adhere to these non-contextualised standards. We will soon be coming out with a detailed commentary on the issue, but for now, for more details you can check the following articles:

  1. KEI’s commentary here;
    1. Specifically, their comments on how the TPP conflicts US Supreme Court decisions on State Sovereign Immunity;
    2. How it puts the patents before the patients; and
    3. On the copyright issues in the TPP.
  2. Techdirt’s commentaries on
    1. How firms can abuse the TPP’s terms on patents and copyrights are available here;
    2. On how it favours pharmaceutical companies over public health here,
    3. and on the rise of drug prices under the TPP here.
  3. A human rights perspective on the TPP is available over at Human Rights Watch here.
  4. And last but not the least, an excellent article on the secrecy of the TPP is available here.

Doctors Without Borders’ statement on the conclusion of the TPP can be found here, and KEI’s statement is available here.

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