Prof. UG dr hab. Maciej Barczewski, prof. UG dr hab. Sebastian Sykuna
University of Gdańsk
English abstract: Over the past few years the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights recognized the growing concern over an imbalance between intellectual property and public interest. With regard to health technologies in particular, without sufficient use of balancing exceptions and limitations, patents and related monopoly rights primarily serve to protect corporate interests of the pharmaceutical industry. The broadest possible use of compulsory licenses is one of the essential measures that can contribute to increase in responsiveness to public interest considerations in defining the boundaries of the IP-related components that determine access to medicines. Another instrument is the process of interpretation and implementation of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS), which aims not only at clarifying the meaning of the provisions or determining the intentions of the parties to this treaty, but sets sights on reconciling its competing objectives. The need to interpret and implement the TRIPS Agreement in a way that protects public interest is confirmed by the obligation of acting “in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare” under Article 7 of the Agreement. Moreover, Article 8 allows to adopt “measures necessary to protect public health and nutrition, and to promote the public interest in sectors of vital importance to their socio-economic and technological development”. Therefore, in the context of the problem of access to medicines, the important role of human rights as an instrument for the prevention of abuse of intellectual property rights and the restoration of their balance, taking into account the interests of both the beneficiaries of protection and the general public, should be emphasized.
Keywords: intellectual property, WTO, human rights, public interest, patents, access to medicines, TRIPS
Published: Number 3(24)/2020, pp. 66-78.
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