While the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office this week announced a new initiative to end overseas counterfeiting (“STOP!”) to much fanfare, it decidedly turned its back on protecting American patents abroad by allowing Brazil to proceed with plans to violate the patents of three U.S. drug makers.
In response, the Center for Individual Freedom urges the Administration to oppose Brazil’s plans to steal the intellectual property of American companies, and also calls on acting U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier to consider the following questions:
* Why has this Administration sought to draw distinctions between various forms of intellectual property rights in enforcement abroad?
* Why has the Administration rewarded Brazil while its President, Lula de Silva, not only tramples on U.S. intellectual property rights, but promotes such lawless action through anti-American rhetoric (“have the courage to fight against the rich countries”)?
“Research and development is a vital component of the U.S. economy,” said CFIF President Jeffrey Mazzella. “Innovation drives our economic growth and, in this case, leads to medical breakthroughs. If our own government won’t protect America’s intellectual property from foreign pirates, then Americans will suffer from not only a slower economy but from limited access to newer and better medicines.”
The Brazilian government has threatened to invoke a provision of the TRIPS agreement meant to address national health epidemics by implementing compulsory licensing on drugs needed to treat the epidemic.
Brazil claims to have a HIV/AIDS “epidemic,” yet the percentage of its population infected with the disease is the same as the United States.
In addition, Brazil’s self-identification as a developing country is suspect considering it boasts the 10th largest economy in the world (a $1.3 trillion GDP – larger than Canada, Russia and Mexico) and the world’s 4th largest space program.
“In the late 1990s, there were 26 companies conducting research and development on HIV/AIDS drugs. Today there are only six,” Mazzella continued. “Companies will not invest the money needed for research and development if it is only going to get stolen by foreign countries.”
“Once American research and development dries up there will be no innovators left, and all the world will suffer,” Mazzella concluded.
The Center for Individual Freedom calls itself a nonpartisan constitutional and free-market advocacy organization. Since its inception, CFIF has been a staunch and vocal advocate for the protection of intellectual property rights.
Center for Individual Freedom