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Synopsis and References of the Case

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a case that shows the difficulty of applying the provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) in the area of pharmaceutical patents. The TRIPS agreement guarantees the exclusive rights of patent owners to exploit patent products and processes. The European communities contested the implementation of these provisions by Canada. This case was of legal interest for two reasons. Above all, it was the first application of the conditions relating to authorised exceptions under the TRIPS Agreement. Secondly, it allowed harmonisation of national solutions to the problem of reconciling the interests of pharmaceutical patent owners and generic drug producers. With respect to the difficulty in articulating the interests of pharmaceutical patent owners and those of generic drug producers, the Panel recognized that State Members have some leeway, in conformity with the flexibility of the TRIPS Agreement itself.

Keywords: Canada; European communities; patent protection; pharmaceutical products; TRIPS Agreement



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