Archive for June 9th, 2011

Study Debunks Chamber of Commerce Claims on Canadian Patent Law

Yesterday I posted on how the Canadian IP Council, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s IP lobby arm, floated false claims about the scope of counterfeiting in Canada in an attempt to bolster claims for increased border measures. The Chamber placed Canadian countefeiting costs at $30 billion per year, a figure that has no basis in fact and that even RCMP no longer supports.

The Chamber’s false claims on counterfeiting are not the only intellectual property issue where their arguments have been debunked as inaccurate.  My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) focuses on the proposed trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, which could have big implications for the costs of pharmaceutical drugs, on which Canadians spend $22 billion annually.

The E.U. is home to many of the world’s big brand name pharmaceutical companies and one of their chief goals is to extend Canada’s intellectual property rules to delay the availability of lower cost generic alternatives. Earlier this year, the Chamber’s IP Council released a report claiming that Canada lags behind other countries and encouraging the Canadian government to follow the European example by extending the term of pharmaceutical patents and “data exclusivity.”

The CIPC (which counts several brand name pharmaceutical companies as members) claims the reforms would lead to increased pharmaceutical research and development in Canada. But last month University of Toronto law professor Edward Iacobucci released a study that thoroughly debunks the CIPC claims, predicting increased consumer costs and noting that there is little evidence the changes would increase employment or research spending. 

Iacobucci’s blunt assessment of the report:

The CIPC Report does not offer objectivity in its assessment of Canada’s patent regime.  It rather is a straightforward piece of advocacy on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical sector. The Report makes no effort to place Canada’s patent law in an international context or address international relations, but instead simply asserts without justification that Canada would suffer if it fails to grant the same concessions to the pharmaceutical industry that the EU and US have made. The flaws in this basic approach undermine each of the CIPC Report’s recommendations. 

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June 9, 2011 4 comments Columns

Why Ed Fast Holds One of The Keys To Health Care Costs

Appeared in the Toronto Star on June 5, 2011 as EU/Big Pharma Deal Would Raise Health Care Costs Ed Fast, Canada’s new Minister of International Trade, may not be household name, yet the B.C. Minister is set to play a key role in one of Canada’s top domestic priorities – […]

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June 9, 2011 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Telus: “We Absolutely Agree with the OECD’s Findings”

Telus has come out strongly in support of the OECD report on the high data roaming costs Canadians face. The company notes that there was no data roaming competition in Canada until 2009 since Rogers was the only GSM provider. Telus says it plans to slash its roaming pricing by […]

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June 9, 2011 4 comments Must Reads

“A Gross Abuse of the Collective Administration of Copyright”

Howard Knopf reports that the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has filed an application to amend the Access Copyright interim tariff requiring it grant transactional or pay-per-use licences upon request. As I reported last month, Access Copyright has been denying requests by universities for transactional licences in an effort to pressure universities to force them to licence all digital materials for a far higher price. This results in a remarkable situation where universities attempt to pay to use works and Access Copyright says it won’t take their money (though it does offer pay-per-use for corporate customers).

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June 9, 2011 29 comments News