Is Asia's IP landscape in for big changes under TPP?

Selling the Trans-Pacific Partnership to a dozen nations after the details are out may prove something of a challenge, as an article in the Japan Times shows. In an article by Robert W. Kantner, an intellectual property lawyer with Jones Day in Dallas, the author said the trade pact, if approved, would bring far reaching intellectual property right changes to countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei and others such as Singapore "as one price of admission." The scope for change in healthcare alone, he said, includes signatory nations allowing patents on diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods for the treatment of humans or animals. "This represents a fundamental change for countries such as Vietnam and Singapore," Kantner wrote. "Vietnam, for example, does not extend patents for preventative, diagnostic or therapeutic treatment methods for humans or animals. Singapore does not allow patents for surgical and therapeutic treatment methods for humans and animals, either." He noted leaks of draft text on these provisions have already drawn criticism from civil society groups "as a handout to pharmaceutical and medical device companies and a hindrance to improving access to health care in developing countries." Kantner also said that along with the IP changes, enforcement for breaches may need only "reasonably available evidence to show a sufficient degree of certainty that their intellectual property rights are being infringed." Report