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World Intellectual Property Review

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World Intellectual Property Review: ISSN 1758-7528 (Print)

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EDITOR’S NOTE A compelling argument

Tere is a tension at the heart of intellectual property. While almost everyone acknowledges that inventors should have the right to profit from their inventions, and that companies should be able to make money from their research and development, no-one would wish to deny a potentially life-saving innovation to those who need it.

Tere are various ways to deal with this tension. Pharmaceutical companies (it is normally pharmaceutical companies) can revise their charging policy to take account of the different markets in which they operate and ensure that drugs are priced at a level which is affordable to those who need them. Te problem with that is that the companies, patients and governments may all have very different ideas of what is ‘affordable’.

And there are risks to selling products at a significantly lower price in one country than in another; parallel imports may mean that your drug ends up being sold at a low price in one country and then re-imported into another country, where someone else resells it for a profit. So while pharmaceutical companies may be able to do more to ensure access to patented drugs, they can’t do everything.

Te alternative is for governments to step in, and order compulsory licences in times of national emergency, while generic companies can apply to patent offices for such licences too. It’s difficult to make the argument against this kind of thing without sounding heartless, but it’s clear that the pendulum can swing too far, and that ‘access to drugs’ can become a euphemism for ‘access to profit’. In this issue, we talk to lawyers and businesses that have been on both sides of the equation.

Transferring the fruits of innovation to the places that need them is one thing; getting inventions out of academia and into production is another challenge entirely. We hear from the Association of University Technology Managers about how its members deal with managing the transition.

Additionally, we take a look at developments in Hong Kong and interview Allen Yeung of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park Corporation, as well as asking whether the city deserves its reputation as a gateway to Asia. Tere are a few other places vying for that title in the business world. One of them, Malaysia, has made great strides in IP over the last few years—we speak to the Malaysian IP Corporation about developments, and look at the wider ASEAN-region context.

Finally, we consider issues closer to home. Te arguments about a Unitary Patent in Europe, and its associated court, rumble on. We hear several different perspectives—a sign that there may be some way to go before agreement is reached.

In the world of IP, there’s plenty up for grabs. Peter Scott, Editor


Stefan Abel, partner, Bardehle Pagenberg

Roberto Arochi, partner, Arochi Marroquín & Lindner SC

Roberto Barchiesi, president, International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition

Colin Davies, director, Intellectual Property Law Unit, University of Glamorgan

Ronald Faggetter, managing partner, Smart & Biggar/ Fetherstonhaugh

Maurice Gonsalves, partner, Mallesons Stephen Jacques

Richard Gough, partner, Baker & McKenzie

Lewis Gould, partner, Duane Morris LLP

Chris McLeod, director of trademarks, Squire Sanders Hammonds

Jacqueline Needle, partner, Beck Greener

Sergio Olivares, partner, Olivares & Cia

John Pegram, senior principal, Fish and Richardson PC

Rebecca L. Roby, senior director of business affairs, Hard Rock International

Pier Luigi Roncaglia, partner, Studio Legale SIB

Mario Soerensen Garcia, founder and managing partner, Soerensen Garcia Advogados Associados

Paul J. Sutton, co-founding partner, Sutton Magidoff LLP

Geoff Wicks, chief executive officer, NetNames

Stephen Yang, partner, Peksung Intellectual Property

World Intellectual Property Review January/February 2012


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