Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Nov14/09)
24 November 2014
Third World Network
friends and colleagues,
are pleased to share with you below a report in The Economic Times
of India titled "US industry patent lobby meeting with judges
foiled - Public health groups successfully prevented meetings
that had been scheduled between a visiting delegation of a US industry
patent grouping and judges of the Delhi High Court and the Intellectual
Property Appellate Board last week after questioning the propriety
of such discussions."
details of the protest letter that triggered this set of events, please
see: TWN IP Info: "Public call to Indian justices not to
meet with multinational pharmaceutical industry" (dated 17 November
2014) - http://twn.my/title2/intellectual_property/info.service/2014/ip141109.htm
industry patent lobby meeting with judges foiled
Seth & Soma Das, ET Bureau | 24 Nov, 2014, 04.00AM IST
DELHI: Public health groups successfully prevented meetings that had
been scheduled between a visiting delegation of a US industry patent
grouping and judges of the Delhi High Court and the Intellectual Property Appellate Board last week after
questioning the propriety of such discussions, people familiar with
the matter told ET.
Members of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), a group
representing the interests of IP owners from companies across sectors,
met government officials, including those from the Department of Industrial
Policy and Promotion and patent offices, during their seven-day visit.
Their plans to hold meetings at the Delhi High Court and IPAB had
to be put off after patients groups, health activists and public interest
lawyers objected, calling these efforts 'blatant attempts to influence
judicial outcomes in cases relating to drug patent disputes that are
currently before the courts.'
members include pharmaceutical multinationals Bristol-Myers Squibb, Roche, Merck and Pfizer Inc, which have cases pending before
the IPAB and the Delhi High Court. "Providing
privileged access of an IP lobby group to the highest levels of the
judiciary and key quasi-judicial bodies like the IPAB, involves a
serious conflict of interest and would cast a dark shadow on the neutrality
of the judiciary," they said in the letter. IPO did not respond
to ET's queries seeking comment on the cancellation of the meetings.
Earlier, similar pressure from activists had prompted the recusal
of Supreme Court Judge Dalveer Bhandari from the high-profile Novartis
case at an advanced stage of hearings in 2011. Bhandari withdrew after
health activists objected to his participation in two international
conferences for judges hosted by IPO, whose members included Novartis.
The case concluded two years later with the apex court turning down
the plea by Novartis to grant a patent to its cancer drug Glivec.
Pharma industry experts told ET that industry groups should not seek
such exclusive meetings with judges.
"That's the norm across the world. Interactions of the judiciary
with the industry on a public forum are still considered acceptable.
In fact, meetings of the foreign delegation with government officials
should also be held under protocol as these are usually bilateral
arrangements," said Ramesh Adige, a former executive director
of Ranbaxy Laboratories.
"These meetings provide opportunities for indirect lobbying and
clearly violate code of ethics. Why do these companies and industry
representatives want to share their experiences and perspectives on
intellectual property with the judiciary in bilateral and exclusive
settings?" said KM Gopakumar of Third World Network, an international
non-profit organisation that works on developmental issues including
access to medicines. Gopakumar was among those who signed the letter
objecting to IPO's meetings last week.+