The Corner

Happy World Intellectual Property Day (Eve)

Tomorrow’s the big day (Institute for Policy Innovation chief Tom Giovanetti has an excellent “IP” op-ed piece in today’s issue of The Hill), and it’s a day worth noting, given the rampant worldwide thievery of trademarks and patents. The stakes are much higher than Chinese factories making Beanie Baby knock-offs and counterfeiting Hollywood DVDs: of greater concern is the growing trend of governments to outright steal vital pharmaceuticals, negating their patent protections and posing grave consequences for future R&D (why spend billions to develop a drug if some foreign regime steals it?). Paul Howard’s recent NRO piece tells how the biggest state culprit is Thailand, whose Minister of Health, Mongkol na Songkhla, is in the U.S. this week for official talks, prompting IP advocacy groups such as USA for Innovation to urge fed officials to confront him over Bangkok’s thievery and threaten specific retaliation.

FYI: also worth reading is AEI expert Roger Pate’s piece, “Thailand’s Patent Damage,” which reports that none other than the William J. Clinton Foundation “has endorsed Thailand’s position, applauding the country for what it calls a ‘measured use’ of compulsory licenses to ensure affordable access to high quality drugs.”

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