Transfer Pricing Associates

IP Rights a Major Hurdle in Pacific Trade Talks

post Friday March 15, 2013


One of the largest hurdles amid the talks about a US-led Pacific free trade pact is intellectual property protection. Officials from the Pacific Rim countries indicated that further discussion is needed around IP rights, labor standards and other top issues.

"The negotiators made solid progress in bridging gaps in a number of areas," said Singapore's chief negotiator Ng Bee Kim. "There was a distinct sense that negotiations were shifting gears," she said.

While great improvements were made, there are a variety of issues that still need to be addressed, including the environment, competition, intellectual property and labor standards before a comprehensive package is offered for approval later this year.

The main difficulties with intellectual property protections lie within the debate between innovation protection and restrictive access to potentially life changing improvements, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry. Robert Atkinson, president of US based Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said "US negotiators should ensure that strong IP protections are a necessary prerequisite to any TPP agreement." He added that IP protection is vital to industries that rely on innovation and that specifically movies, books, music and pharmaceuticals and computer software must be protected from infringement.

Discussion: How does a possible trade agreement with countries in the Pacific Rim affect the security of US intellectual property? Should innovators feel threatened? What are the potential humanitarian benefits and risks for strong intellectual property restrictions on healthcare products?

Source: Global Post

Image source: Free Digital Photos

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