A TRIPS waiver is useful but not a magic pill (The Hindu, GS-2, International Relations, Economy)

A TRIPS waiver is useful but not a magic pill (The Hindu, GS-2, International Relations, Economy)

Context:- Innovation and invention during this tough time to fight against corona, on one hand we have to protect the people from the onslaught and on the other hand we must ensure that innovators must get it due in terms of intellectual property rights. In this context, The United States has finally relented and declared its support for a temporary waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.

What is TRIPS agreement:-

  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (the “TRIPS Agreement”) of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization of 15 April 1994, which entered into force on 1 January 1995.
  • The TRIPS Agreement builds on the existing multilateral systems for the protection of the various intellectual property rights covered by it, and many substantive provisions of the main international instruments for the protection of intellectual property are included in the Agreement.

India and other developing countries are demanding waiver in the TRIPS agreement so that they can fight against COVID-19

Issue:- USA gave the wavier, and CANADA and other developed countries are  opposing this move, they are demanding no wavier.

But why concerned:-

  • USA gave waiver only on the COVID-19 vaccine, but not on the technology, other therapeutic medicine as demanded by india.
  • TRIPS agreement is a comprehensive document so it may have some legal repercussions such as country want to transfer technology but a private company doesn’t want so in that case matter will go to court.
    • Solution
      • India must prepare a team of legal consultant who will study TRIPS in detail and then advice to government
  • How we can fight against COVID when TRIPS waiver is in force.
    • address the non-IP bottlenecks
      •  such as technology transfer
      •  production constraints
      •  other logistical challenges such as 
        • inadequacy of supply chains
        •  unavailability of raw materials to manufacture vaccines and medicines.

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