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Edited by Lan Nguyen and Niall O'Connor

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Edited by Johanna Gibson

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Phillip Johnson

The Report of the Parker Committee, formed in 1916 to consider potential reforms to patent law, was not published. It was concerned, in part, with the abuse of the British patent system by foreigners, proposing significant reforms to address the perceived issues. Ultimately, its proposals were the basis of the failed Patents and Designs Bill 1917. Significantly, the Committee considered issues around compulsory licences, licences of right and the patenting of medicinal products (that is, pharmaceuticals). The public records do not include a copy of the final report or all the key memoranda from which the Committee started its work. These are brought together here for the first time.

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Andreas Dimopoulos

This article focuses on the normative content of Article 8 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and examines its implications for the regulation of broadcasting with regards to diversity and free speech. The analysis claims that Article 8 CRPD requires a stricter approach to issues of free speech, in favour of promoting social inclusion for persons with disabilities. The article engages in a comparative examination of EU, French, and UK law on broadcasting to argue that current law and practice (focusing on disability-related complaints) is inadequate to fulfil the obligations imposed by Article 8 CRPD.

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Yen Hoang Tran

This case note discusses the recent Award in the South China Sea arbitration and its implications for fisheries management and cooperation in the South China Sea. It argues that by rejecting the validity of the nine-dash line claim, clarifying the maritime entitlements of all the features in the Spratlys, and denouncing a number of Chinese activities in the South China Sea, the Award has remarkably contributed to narrowing the geographical scope of the disputes and thus defining the rights and obligations of States in different maritime areas. Ultimately, the Award has laid the foundation for future regional and bilateral efforts to cooperate, especially those of fisheries management and fisheries management cooperation in the South China Sea.

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Letizia Lo Giacco

Based on the ever-increasing interpretation and application of international law by domestic courts, this paper offers an insight into the practices of judicial citation of international and domestic jurisdictions while adjudicating international criminal law related matters. The paper considers selected instances of judicial citation and operates a prima facie distinction between judicial citation as a finding device and as a justification exercise. It is argued that domestic courts rely on international judicial decisions primarily as a finding device whilst international case law deals with domestic judicial decisions in the realm of justification. The analysis of this material triggers reflections on the relevance of judicial citation for the doctrine of sources of international law, inasmuch as it adds to the formation of normative expectations on subjects of international law, as well as for a scholarly conceptualisation of contemporary international law-making.

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Helin M Laufer

This paper will critically analyse the International Committee of the Red Cross’ new weapons review and emphasise the importance of considering human rights in the assessment of the legality of weapons. Further, the paper will illustrate this practically by analysing the legality of drones and killer robots from the perspective of the right to life and the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

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Fenghua Li

At the centre of the controversy surrounding the reversal of awards in the Yukos cases is the provisional application laid down in Article 45 of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which allows a signatory to unilaterally undertake to give affirmative legal effect to the obligations under the ECT on a voluntary and provisional basis. The paper examines the two disparate approaches adopted by the Arbitral Tribunal and the Hague District Court in interpreting the provisional application, namely the ‘all-or-nothing’ approach which necessitates an analysis and determination of whether the principle of provisional application per se is inconsistent with national laws of a signatory and the ‘piecemeal’ approach that requires provisional application to be dependable on the consistency of each provision of the ECT with national laws. The paper further scrutinises the effect that should be given to the provisional application of the ECT and maintains that the controversy has the potential to generate intricate tensions between the finality and rectification of arbitral awards and between international arbitral autonomy and judicial scrutiny instrument, and will have a conclusive impact on the fate of the petition of the Russian Federation.

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Edited by Johanna Gibson

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Shamnad Basheer

The Indian patent regime has been celebrated and censured in equal measure: celebrated by those that see in it the vestiges of a past, where nations could craft a patent policy to suit national priorities – without succumbing to the pressures of a global patent script and dictated largely by the industrial interests of the developed world – and censured by those who think that India's extensive use of TRIPS flexibilities to advance developmental priorities comes at the cost of global innovation incentives and a uniform patent paradigm.

Indeed, the present frame of the Indian patent regime contains a unique set of provisions not ordinarily found in other regimes. Patent working is one such provision. While most patent regimes demand ‘disclosure’, in that the patentee must elaborate the invention in full so as to educate the public and enable those skilled in the art to replicate it with relative ease, the Indian patent regime goes one step further. It requires that the disclosure even extend to the mode and manner in which patents are being worked for the greater public good. This information can then be used to trigger compulsory licences and even patent revocations. To this extent, the Indian patent regime not only grants exclusive IP rights, but also imposes a set of IP duties.

As an IP duty, patent working is central to the innovation ecosystem, for its disclosure helps foster greater transparency by inter alia pegging specific patents to products. This information is particularly valuable in the high technology sector, where it is often impossible to co-relate patents and the technological products that embody them, and vice versa. Unfortunately, Indian patentees routinely flout this important legal tenet, and the government has all but turned a blind eye to it.

This paper reflects on this important statutory mandate and its jurisprudential underpinnings, particularly in relation to two technology sectors: pharmaceuticals and high technology (IT and telecommunications). It highlights a writ petition filed by the author of this paper to showcase the sheer callousness with which the patent working requirement has been treated by both patentees and the government alike. It then discusses the ways in which the mandate could be strengthened so as to pave the way for a more meaningful patent regime and a more transparent innovation ecosystem.