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Using Intellectual Property Rights to Stimulate Pharmaceutical Production in Developing Countries

A Reference Guide

image of Using Intellectual Property Rights to Stimulate Pharmaceutical Production in Developing Countries
Over the past few years, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have become a major economic, trade and investment issue, as illustrated by considerable increases in royalty payments and licensing fees in most areas of the world and the inclusion of intellectual property (IP) provisions in regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements. The present Guide has been prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat as part of its technical assistance activities in the area of IPRs and the promotion of pharmaceutical production and supply capacities in developing countries. It will be an important tool for training activities for stakeholders from selected developing countries, in an effort to build capacities for the creation of domestic legal frameworks conducive to the promotion of pharmaceutical production and supply capacities.

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Policy options for the implementation of TRIPS flexabilities

The Guide addresses those TRIPS flexibilities that a government may use to shape the broad scope of exclusive rights (on medical substances and others) both before a patent is even issued (pre-grant) and after a patent has been granted (post-grant). Pre-grant flexibilities constitute a pro-active tool for a government to design generally applicable IP laws, whereas post-grant flexibilities are usually limited to particular cases where the government considers an existing monopoly right to be too broad. Governments interested in limiting exclusive rights on medical substances are advised to pay particular attention to the pre-grant flexibilities, as these may reduce the need to utilize post-grant tools. This is particularly important in light of the possible tensions surrounding post-grant tools such as compulsory licenses and parallel imports. Overall, national policy makers should be aware of and may wish to take full advantage of both pre- and post-grant flexibilities.

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