SpicyIP Weekly Review (October 9-15)

Our topical highlight for this week is Balu’s coverage on the UN High Level Panel’s report on Access to Medicines and Health Technologies. This report is notable for its bold stance on issues such as the need for delinking drug prices and R&D costs, and its criticism on the US stance on countries attempting to utilize TRIPs flexibilities. Balu further notes that this report has already generated opposition from the pharma industry and the US Department of State.

Our thematic highlight for the week doubtless is Mathews’ two part post (read here and here) critiquing the DU Photocopy judgement. In these posts, Mathews argues that while this judgement has been hailed as promoting access to education, it is jurisprudentially and legally unsound, and amounts to judicial legislation. He argues that the judgement treats Section 52(1)(i) of the Copyright Act as a controlling norm instead of a limiting exception, and goes beyond the existing jurisprudence of exceptions to copyright infringement.

Our first post of the week was Pankhuri’s update on the promotion of 7 attorneys in Singh & Singh Lal & Sethi. However, on second thought, we realized that this may have come across as advertorial for the firm and amended our future policy on law firm coverage. Henceforth, we shall not be posting any routine elevations/promotions or activities or movements within and across law firms etc., but will only do so when it involves a significant development for the IP ecosystem as a whole or represents a very distinct development.

Next, Inika brought us two posts on Gilead’s patent claims on Sovaldi. In the first post, she reports that the European Patent Office (EPO) has amended Gilead’s patent claims on Sovaldi used for the treatment of Hepatitis C on grounds that it extended beyond the content of the patent application. This development is a huge win for public health as Gilead’s Patent will now exhaust a full 4 years before than what was expected, enabling generic manufacturers to enter the market sooner. In her second post, she continues this coverage by clarifying Gilead’s stance on this issue.

Rahul then brought us his wonderful piece on the key takeaways from the Marrakesh Treaty. In his post, he argues that the Marrakesh treaty is unique as it seeks to limit the scope of copyright protection, as opposed to most other IP treaties which attempt to expand this scope. He discusses the key features of this treaty and analyzes the powerful ramifications it shall have. Through his post, he demonstrates that intellectual property law can be used as an instrument to establish a fairer and more humanitarian society.

The week came to a close with Pankhuri announcing that the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) is inviting applications for two of its courses on competition law, which also comprise strong IPR modules. These courses are designed for stakeholders interested in acquiring professional knowledge and practical skills in the area of competition law & market regulation.

International Developments

  1. McDonald’s faces copyright lawsuits from graffiti artists claiming their work was stolen for McDonald’s urban themed restaurants.
  2. Babe Wodumo’s song, Wololo removed from YouTube after reaching 2.3 million hits due to copyright claims by Mausay Media.
  3. U-Haul International Inc. and PODS Enterprises LLC entered into a $41.4 million settlement over the use of the word “pod”.
  4. The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the long running Samsung v Apple patent dispute.
  5. The UK Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that struck down key patent claims on Pfizer’s Lyrica and cleared Actavis’ generic of infringing it.

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