Research Handbook on Patent Law and Theory
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Research Handbook on Patent Law and Theory

Second Edition

Edited by Toshiko Takenaka

This significantly updated second edition of the Research Handbook on Patent Law provides comprehensive coverage of new research for patent protection in three major jurisdictions: the United States, Europe and Japan.
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Chapter 17: Current controversies concerning patent rights and public health in a world of international norms

Cynthia M. Ho


An ever-present question is how to properly balance patent rights with public health. However, this question is arguably becoming more difficult in an era of proliferating international agreements and norms. This chapter describes the genesis and requirements of the basic international framework for patents pursuant to the Trade Related Intellectual Property Agreement (‘TRIPS’). After introducing basic TRIPS requirements, controversies are discussed including India’s controversial law barring certain inventions from patentability, as well as compulsory license controversies, including political pressure and retaliation. In addition, newer challenges are discussed, such as TRIPS plus requirements concerning patent and regulatory laws as well as investor-state disputes under international agreements. Lastly, the chapter provides some thoughts on how to balance patent rights with public health.

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