The New Intellectual Property of Health

The New Intellectual Property of Health

Beyond Plain Packaging

Edited by Alberto Alemanno and Enrico Bonadio

This timely book provides the first legal and policy analysis of the intellectual property (IP) aspects of a rapidly-growing category of regulatory measures affecting the presentation and advertising of certain health-related goods, namely tobacco, alcohol, food, and pharmaceuticals.

Chapter 10: Leveraging certification marks for public health

Margaret Chon and Maria Therese Fujiye

Subjects: law - academic, health law, intellectual property law


At least two strands of newer global regulatory governance bodies suggest a critical revisit to the enabling and constraining roles of intellectual property (IP) law as it intersects with global public health policies. The first is the global public–private partnership (PPP), which is already embedded within the future work programmes of multiple intergovernmental organizations and is emerging prominently with the post-2015 United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals. A widely recognized example is the global health PPP, whether for pharmaceutical access or product development. A second and perhaps less well recognized type is the global value network (GVN) which works primarily through coordinating regulation via markets. Examples of this second type are environmental, health or safety standards implemented by market actors around specific cross-border products or services. Both of these emerging regulatory forms (PPPs and GVNs) complement state-based institutions, laws and policies. However, because they typically operate across state and non-state sectors, as well as across jurisdictions, they present uniquely challenging issues. This chapter addresses how these new forms of IP institutions may affect public health. It focuses on the capacity of GVNs to provide additional information to consumers in the form of certifications and related marking of goods and services circulating in global markets. Certification marks provide alternative approaches to the mandatory disclosures and labelling discussed elsewhere in this volume. These marks exist in many (although not all) jurisdictions and do not implicate amendments to treaty law.

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