Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Model Provisions for Patents in Uganda

imageUganda’s Industrial Property Bill of 2009, one only needs to look at the name to know this would-be-could-be law has been under discussion for sometime.  Last month, the Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) released a document of model provisions outlining desired changes to the Industrial Property Bill.  These model provisions were a result of of consultations between CEHURD, various government ministries including trade and justice, the United Nations Development Program and other interested parties.  The document, Model Provisions to Promote Access to Affordable Medicines in the Industrial Property Bill 2009, is available in full here.

The main push of the model provisions is to rebalance the patent law teeter-totter such that neither drug companies nor Uganda citizens are stuck in the bum-to-the-ground position.   The model provisions urge bringing Uganda in-line with TRIPS, which includes avoiding TRIPS-plus legislation and adding in TRIPS-required remunerations.  A few highlights:

  • Mention the important goal of balance in the preamble
  • Remuneration for compulsory licenses (Section 1)
  • Accessible databases of registered patents (Sections 4 and 5)
  • A heightened novelty standard (Section 10)
  • Importation of a provision from the India Patents Act that limits inventive steps (Section 11)
  • Taking advantage of the TRIPS LDC exceptions (e.g. Section 16)
  • Requirement of best mode disclosure (Section 21)
  • Opportunity to correct applications (Section 28)
  • A record of non-granted patent applications (Section 31)
  • Post-grant Oppositions (Section 32)
  • Removal of Criminal liability (Section 96)

Uganda’s parliament is currently on break, but they will be taking a look at these model provisions and the Bill when sessions resume in November.

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