In its input to the federal government’s report card on global respect for intellectual property (IP), the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) explains the importance of IP for innovation and details how different countries’ policies and practices threaten IP.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is preparing its annual “Special 301” report, which looks at threats to IP from other countries. BIO took the opportunity to comment late last month.
“IP rights have provided a framework to unite and empower biotech innovators and their ecosystems to improve lives,” BIO says in its submission for the 2021 report. “Strong and predictable IP systems cultivate partnerships, enhance knowledge sharing, support the entrepreneurial journey, and ultimately ensure that innovation is resourced and funded.”
BIO’s submission identifies five key areas where violations are being committed.
- Compulsory licenses issued when governments “force biotechnology companies to transfer technology to local companies.”
- Technology localization measures, including requiring technology transfer for local patents.
- Inadequate regulatory data protection, which protects the packet of information supplied to regulators when applying for a patent.
- Obstacles to patent acquisition.
- Patent enfoncement challenges.
BIO also identifies the countries where these problems occur and gives a “watch list” of the most problematic countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Turkey.
What is the Special 301 report?
Every year since 1989, the USTR has prepared its “Special 301” Report, which “reflects the outcome of a Congressionally-mandated annual review of the global state of intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement.”
As part of their review, the USTR invites interested parties to submit comments about practices that are inconsistent with good IP protection. Given the role IP plays in protecting the value of biotech investments in development, BIO says it is “critical” for the organization to comment.
The review, including input from organizations like BIO “reflects the Administration’s resolve to encourage and maintain enabling environments for innovation, including effective IP protection and enforcement, in markets worldwide, which benefit not only U.S. exporters but the domestic IP-intensive industries in those markets as well,” the USTR says.