mardi, janvier 25, 2011

Commander une pizza chez Speed-Pizza en 2015

Voilà à quoi pourrait ressembler la commande d'une pizza en 2015 suite aux dérives de l'interconnexion des données informatiques :


Standardiste : Speed-Pizza, bonjour.

Client : Bonjour, je souhaite passer une commande s'il vous plaît.

Standardiste : Oui, puis-je avoir votre NIN, Monsieur ?
 
Client : Mon Numéro d'Identification National ? Oui, un instant,  voilà, c'est le 6102049998-45-54610. 
  
Standardiste : Je me présente je suis Noa Legarrec-Garcia. Merci Mr Jacques Lavoie.  Donc, nous allons actualiser votre fiche, votre adresse est bien le 174 avenue de Villiers à Carcassonne, et votre numéro de téléphone le 04 68 69 69 69. Votre numéro de téléphone  professionnel à la Société Durand est le 04 72 25 55 41 et votre numéro  de téléphone mobile le 06 06 05 05 01.  C'est bien ça, Monsieur Lavoie ?

Client (timidement) : oui !! 
  
Standardiste : Je vois que vous appelez d'un autre numéro qui  correspond au domicile de Mlle Isabelle Denoix, qui est votre  assistante technique.  Sachant qu'il est 23h30 et que vous êtes en RTT,  nous ne pourrons vous livrer au domicile de Mlle Denoix que si vous  nous envoyez un XMS à partir de votre portable en précisant le code  suivant AZ25/JkPp+88.

Client : Bon, je le fais, mais d'où sortez-vous toutes ces  informations ?

Standardiste : Nous sommes connectés au système croisé, Monsieur  Lavoie.
 
Client (Soupir) : Ah bon !.... Je voudrais deux de vos pizzas  spéciales mexicaines.

Standardiste : Je ne pense pas que ce soit une bonne idée, Monsieur  Lavoie
  
Client : Comment ça ???...

Standardiste : Votre contrat d'assurance maladie vous interdit un  choix aussi dangereux pour votre santé, car selon votre dossier  médical, vous souffrez d'hypertension et d'un niveau de cholestérol  supérieur aux valeurs contractuelles. D'autre part, Mlle Denoix ayant  été médicalement traitée il y a 3 mois pour hémorroïdes, le piment est  fortement déconseillé.  Si la commande est maintenue, la société qui  l'assure risque d'appliquer une surprime.

Client : Aie ! Qu'est-ce que vous me proposez alors ?...

Standardiste : Vous pouvez essayer notre Pizza allégée au yaourt de  soja, je suis sûre que vous l'adorerez…

Client : Qu'est-ce qui vous fait croire que je vais aimer cette pizza ?
 
Standardiste : Vous avez consulté les 'Recettes gourmandes au soja' à  la bibliothèque de votre comité d'entreprise la semaine dernière,  Monsieur Lavoie et Mlle Denoix a fait, avant hier, une recherche sur le Net, en utilisant le moteur 'booglle2.con' avec comme mots clés 'soja'  et 'alimentation'. D'où ma suggestion.

Client : Bon d'accord. Donnez-m'en deux, format familial.

Standardiste : Vu que vous êtes actuellement traité par Dipronex et  que Mlle Denoix prend depuis 2 mois du Ziprovac à la dose de 3  comprimés par jour et que la pizza contient, selon la législation, 150  mg de Phénylseptine par 100g de pâte, il y a un risque mineur de  nausées si vous consommez le modèle familial en moins de 7 minutes. La  législation nous interdit donc de vous livrer. En revanche, j'ai le feu  vert pour vous livrer immédiatement le modèle mini.
 
Client : Bon, bon, ok, va pour le modèle mini. Je vous donne mon  numéro de carte de crédit. 
 
Standardiste : Je suis désolée Monsieur, mais je crains que vous ne  soyez obligé de payer en liquide. Votre solde de carte de crédit VISA  dépasse la limite et vous avez laissé votre carte American Express sur votre lieu de travail. C'est ce qu'indique le Credicard Satellis  Tracer.
 
Client : J'irai chercher du liquide au distributeur avant que le  livreur n'arrive.

Standardiste : Ça ne marchera pas non plus, Monsieur Lavoie, vous  avez dépassé votre plafond de retrait hebdomadaire.

Client : Mais, ce n'est pas vos oignons ! Contentez-vous de m'envoyer  les pizzas ! J'aurai le liquide. Combien de temps ça va prendre ?

Standardiste : Compte-tenu des délais liés aux contrôles de qualité,  elles seront chez vous dans environ 45 minutes. Si vous êtes pressé,  vous pouvez gagner 10 minutes en venant les chercher, mais transporter  des pizzas en scooter est pour le moins acrobatique.

Client : Comment diable pouvez-vous savoir que j'ai un scooter ?
 
Standardiste : Votre Peugeot 408 est en réparation au garage de  l'Avenir, en revanche, votre scooter est en bon état puisqu'il a passé  le contrôle technique hier et qu'il est actuellement stationné devant  le domicile de Mlle Denoix. Par ailleurs j'attire votre attention sur les risques liés à votre taux d'alcoolémie. Vous avez, en effet réglé  quatre cocktails Afroblack au Tropical Bar, il y a 45 minutes. En  tenant compte de la composition de ce cocktail et de vos  caractéristiques morphologiques, ni vous, ni Mlle Denoix n'êtes en état de conduire. Vous risquez donc un retrait de permis immédiat.
  
Client : @#/$@& ?# !

Standardiste : Je vous conseille de rester poli, Monsieur Lavoie. Je  vous informe que notre standard est doté d'un système anti-insulte en  ligne qui se déclenchera à la deuxième série d'insultes. Je vous  informe en outre que le dépôt de plainte est immédiat et automatisé.
Or, je vous rappelle que vous avez déjà été condamné en juillet 2014  pour outrage à agent.

Client (sans voix) : ... 
  
Standardiste : Autre chose, Monsieur Lavoie ?
 
Client : Non, rien. Ah si, n'oubliez pas le Coca gratuit avec les  pizzas, conformément à votre pub.


Standardiste : Je suis désolée, Monsieur Lavoie, mais notre démarche  qualité nous interdit de proposer des sodas gratuits aux personnes en  surpoids. Cependant à titre de dédommagement, je peux vous consentir  15% de remise sur une adhésion flash au contrat Jurishelp, le contrat  de protection et d'assistance juridique de Speed assurance. Ce contrat  pourrait vous être utile, car il couvre, en particulier, les frais  annexes liés au divorce... Vu que vous êtes marié à Mme Claire Lavoie,  née Girard, depuis le 15/02/2008 et vu votre présence tardive chez Mlle  Denoix, ainsi que l'achat il y a une heure à la pharmacie du Canal  d'une boîte de 15 préservatifs et d'un flacon de lubrifiant à usage intime.  À titre promotionnel, je vais faire joindre aux pizzas un bon de 5  EUR de réduction pour vos prochains achats de préservatifs valable chez  Speed-Parapharma. Toutefois, veuillez éviter les pratiques susceptibles  d'irriter les hémorroïdes de Mlle Denoix, pour lesquelles  Speed-Parapharma se dégage de toute responsabilité.

Bonsoir Monsieur et merci d'avoir fait appel a Speed Pizza
.



 

 

 

 

 

vendredi, janvier 21, 2011

Le mot "persécution"

Ce terme désigne tout traitement injuste et cruel infligé avec acharnement à un groupe de personnes, en raison de leur foi, de leur appartenance sociale ou ethnique. Dans la tradition chrétienne, l’évocation des persécutions renvoie aux premiers siècles de l’Eglise. La première communauté, implantée à Jérusalem, fut très tôt aux prises avec les autorités juives, qui craignaient les réactions romaines face à un nouveau courant religieux. A partir de 64, les chrétiens ont été victimes de l’hostilité romaine : massacres, emprisonnements et embûches administratives. Déclenchant à Rome les premières fureurs contre les chrétiens, Néron avait choisi ceux-ci comme boucs émissaires parce que, plus nombreux et partant mieux identifiés, ils suscitaient déjà dans l’opinion de la capitale une vise aversion, résume l’historien Philippe LEVILLAIN (Dictionnaire historique de la papauté, Fayard. Les historiens distinguent une dizaine de vagues de persécutions jusqu’au Ive siècle, la plus sanglante étant celle de Dioclétien (284-305). Au cours de leur histoire, les Juifs furent eux aussi souvent persécutés, comme au XXe siècle, où la Shoah fit six millions de morts. Ces dernières années, des chrétiens sont à nouveau victimes de persécutions, notamment au Proche-Orient, cibles de groupes islamistes.

 

jeudi, janvier 20, 2011

Les cyber-attaques capables de causer des dommages importants encore rares

Seules quelques rares assauts bien spécifiques sur Internet peuvent causer des dégâts majeurs. Pour autant, différencier les menaces existantes, et s'y préparer, est incontournable.

Les cyber-attaques doivent désormais être considérées comme un facteur de risques systémiques, affirme l’OCDE dans un rapport. Tout en précisant que ce cas de figure reste limité, et que seules certaines attaques bien particulières peuvent engendrer des dégâts majeurs au sein d’une société. Une offensive réussie contre un protocole qui régit le réseau Internet, comme le "Border Gateway Protocol" - qui détermine le système de routage - pourrait par exemple causer des dommages importants. En revanche, les logiciels malveillants, les attaques par déni de service, ou les opérations d'espionnage, sont généralement localisés. Et ont surtout un impact sur le court terme. "Des cyber-attaques prolongées devraient combiner des vecteurs encore inconnus de la communauté de sécurité, une étude minutieuse des cibles choisies, et des méthodes de dissimulation pour préserver à la fois le procédé et les exécutants", notent les auteurs du rapport.

Mieux distinguer l’ensemble des risques

Par ailleurs, la grande majorité des attaques concerne expressément des réseaux d'ordinateurs connectés via Internet. "Par conséquent, les systèmes qui communiquent par des réseaux propriétaires sont protégés de ces offensives là. Même s’il faut préciser qu'ils demeurent vulnérables aux erreurs de management et aux menaces internes", indiquent les analystes. Qui ajoutent que des efforts restent à fournir pour mieux appréhender l’ensemble des risques, en commençant par définir plus spécifiquement les "attaques", eu égard aux "incidents", par exemple. Le langage utilisé étant souvent excessif, selon les consultants. "Un cyber-conflit en tant que tel est fort peu probable, par exemple", précisent-ils.

Pas de cyber-conflit en tant que tel

En effet, la plupart des ordinateurs sont sécurisés, les menaces sont généralement connues, et les effets réels d'une offensive difficiles à prédire. Cela étant, des opérations peuvent être entreprises sur la Toile, contre telle ou telle infrastructure civile ou militaire, dans le cadre plus large d'un affrontement. C’est-à-dire parmi d’autres actions. L’enjeu, pour les auteurs du rapport, est surtout de veiller à renforcer la sécurité des différents systèmes, et de se préparer à colmater les brèches éventuelles. Plutôt que de chercher à identifier l’auteur de l'attaque, pour mettre en place des contre-mesures. Et ce, parce qu'il est souvent difficile de remonter à la source d’une cyber-attaque, concluent les spécialistes.

Sources : http://www.atelier.net/articles/cyber-attaques-capables-de-causer-dommages-importants-rares

mardi, janvier 18, 2011

USA: Supreme Court affirms no first sale defence for foreign-made copies

Supreme Court affirms no first sale defence for foreign-made copies

Contributed by Kenyon & Kenyon LLP


On December 13 2010 the Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's decision in Omega SA v Costco Wholesale Corp, upholding the Ninth Circuit's interpretation of the first sale doctrine as inapplicable to foreign-made goods covered by US copyrights.

Background

Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Omega sold its products internationally through various authorised dealers in the United States and abroad. One such product, a watch that included a design protected by a US copyright, was made overseas and sold by Omega to one of its authorised foreign distributors. Following this sale, the copyrighted watches were imported into the United States by an unidentified third party without Omega's approval. The watches were then purchased by ENE Limited, a New York company, which in turn sold the watches to Costco, which began selling them in California.

Upon learning of Costco's sales, Omega filed a copyright infringement action in the Central District of California. In its defence Costco argued that the first sale doctrine under 17 USC § 109(a) barred Omega's ability to bring the action because the watches were the subject of an authorised sale to one of Omega's foreign distributors. Costco argued that this shielded it from liability despite the fact that the subsequent US sale was unauthorised. The district court agreed, ruling in favour of Costco on summary judgment. Omega appealed.

Appeal ruling

On appeal, Omega argued that Section 109(a) applies only to the sale of goods "lawfully made under [US copyright law]"; therefore, the first sale doctrine did not apply because the goods were made outside the United States. In response, Costco asserted that Omega's reliance on earlier Ninth Circuit case law(1) was misplaced because these cases had been overruled by the Supreme Court in Quality King Distribs, Inc v L'anza Res Int'l, Inc.(2)

In its opinion, the Ninth Circuit first restated that the owner of a copy "lawfully made under [Title 17]" who imports and sells that copy does not infringe under the first sale doctrine. After reviewing BMG Music, Drug Emporium and Denbicare, the court turned to the Supreme Court's Quality King decision. In Quality King the copyrighted goods had been 'round trip' imported: they were manufactured in the United States, exported through an authorised distributor, sold to an unidentified third party abroad and then shipped back to the United States, where they were sold without the copyright holder's permission. In Quality King the court ruled that the first sale doctrine provided a defence against copyright infringement in these circumstances. However, the court declined to address whether the same result would be warranted if the copyrighted products were first manufactured outside the United States.(3)

Picking up where Quality King left off, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the first sale doctrine provides a defence against copyright infringement "only insofar as the claims involve domestically made copies of U.S.-copyrighted works" (emphasis added).(4) Thus, under this decision the first sale doctrine is available as a defence only if the copies were legally made in the United States. Accordingly, the Ninth Circuit rejected Costco's position and reversed the district court, finding no inconsistency between Quality King and the rule of law established by BMG, Drug Emporium and Denbicare (for further details please see "First sale doctrine is no defence to liability for importing foreign-made goods").

Costco then sought certiorari to the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court decision

In a per curium opinion released on December 13 2010, an equally divided Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's decision.(5) Justice Kagan recused herself and took no part in the decision, most likely due to her role as solicitor general in preparing an amicus brief on behalf of the United States. In the brief the United States supported Omega's assertion that "lawfully made under this title", as used in Section 109(a), means made in accordance with US copyright law, which does not apply extraterritorially.

On its face, the case appears to strike a blow to one of the remaining openings in the grey market and may provide a powerful tool for international manufacturers which maintain separate marketing and pricing structures in separate international markets. A foreign DVD, camera or electronics manufacturer, for example, would be able to charge less for its goods in the Asian market than it does in the United States, and could enforce that marketing decision provided that the goods themselves were manufactured outside the territory of the United States. The Ninth Circuit's holding that foreign-made goods are excluded from the first sale doctrine, combined with the increasing trend of manufacturing luxury goods abroad, may result in higher prices due to a reduced grey market.(6)

However, this decision may be less of a victory for international vendors than it appears at first glance. After all, the four-four split merely earned Omega a win by default, not an express affirmation of its legal position. Indeed, the decision may also be viewed as a near miss on a Ninth Circuit reversal, rather than as an approval of that court's interpretation of Section 109(a). While one might assume that Kagan – in light of the position taken by her, as solicitor general, on behalf of the government – would have given Omega the final, precedent-setting vote it needed had she taken part, there is no guarantee of that. Nor can one assume that, had it come to a reasoned decision, the court would not have created its own, different interpretation of the disputed provision.

The decision leaves the Ninth Circuit(7) in support of a narrow interpretation of the first sale doctrine and market division programmes based on control of copyrights in products.

For further information on this topic please contact Edward T Colbert at Kenyon & Kenyon by telephone (+1 202 220 4200), fax (+1 202 220 4201) or email (ecolbert@kenyon.com).

Endnotes

(1) Specifically, BMG Music v Perez 952 F 2d 318 (9th Cir 1991); Parfums Givenchy, Inc v Drug Emporium, Inc 38 F 3d 477 (9th Cir 1994); and Denbicare USA Inc v Toys R Us, Inc 84 F 3d 1143 (9th Cir 1996).

(2) 523 US 135 (1998).

(3) Justice Ginsberg specifically recognised this omission in her one-paragraph concurrence in Quality King (523 US at 154).

(4) Omega SA v Costco Wholesale Corp, 541 F 3d 982, 985 (9th Cir 2008).

(5) Costco Wholesale Corp v Omega SA, 562 US __ (2010).

(6) Jorge Espinosa, "Supreme Court, by a 4-4 Vote, Affirms Ninth Circuit's Restrictive Reading of First Sale Doctrine", The Gray Blog (Dec 15 2010), http://espinosaiplaw.com/wordpress/?m=201012.

(7) Costco asserted in its brief on certiorari that no other circuit court has weighed in on this issue post-Quality King.

 

Spain: Indiscriminate application of private copying levy is illegal

Indiscriminate application of private copying levy is illegal

Contributed by Grau & Angulo


Background

Article 5.2(b) of the EU Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC) allows member states to include in their legislation the concept of a private copy as an exception to the exclusive right of reproduction which belongs to every author, provided that the relevant rights holders receive fair compensation.

Thus, in all EU member states which have adopted this exception in their national legislation, it is perfectly legal for a private individual to copy a digital work (eg, a song on an MP3 player) and to play it at any time in private, with no consequences.

Spanish implementation

Spain has included this exception in its legislation – specifically, in Article 25 of the Intellectual Property Law (1/1996) – and has made use of the fair compensation payment established by EU law by imposing the private copying levy, which must be paid to the rights holders of works subject to private copying.

The private copying levy:

  • is collected by the bodies responsible for the collective management of IP rights in Spain, such as the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE);
  • covers all digital devices (eg, CDs, DVD-R, MP3s); and
  • must be paid by the manufacturers, commercial distributors and importers of these types of equipment.

So far, the private copying levy has been imposed indiscriminately on all digital devices, regardless of whether the person who acquires the equipment is a private individual or a company.

ECJ referral

In an October 21 2010 judgment, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) stated that the indiscriminate implementation in Spain of the private copying levy is incompatible with EU law as it does not fulfil the 'fair compensation' requirement.

The judgment was issued in response to questions referred to the ECJ in a preliminary ruling by the Barcelona Court of Appeal in litigation between SGAE and PADAWAN, which markets digital storage equipment. SGAE brought the action against PADAWAN in order to claim payment of the private copying levy for digital devices marketed between September 2002 and September 2004.

In order to clarify whether the Spanish rules that indiscriminately impose the private copying levy on digital reproduction equipment, devices and media accord with the Copyright Directive, the Barcelona Court of Appeal referred the following questions to the ECJ:

  • Must the concept of fair compensation set out in Article 5.2(b) of the directive be interpreted in the same way in all EU member states?
  • Regardless of the system used by each member state to calculate fair compensation, must a fair balance be ensured between the affected persons (the IP rights holders and the persons liable to pay the compensation)? And should that balance be determined by the justification for fair compensation, which compensates the harm arising from the private copying exception?
  • Must the fair compensation be linked to the presumed use of digital reproduction equipment, devices and media for making reproductions covered by the private copying exception in order for the private copy levy to be justified?
  • Is the indiscriminate application of the private copying levy to companies and professionals who clearly purchase digital reproduction devices and media for purposes other than private copying compatible with the concept of fair compensation?
  • Does the Spanish system of applying the private copying levy indiscriminately infringe the directive because it is applied to different situations in which the limitation of rights justifying the compensation does not exist?

The ECJ responded as follows:

  • The concept of fair compensation, as set out in Article 5.2(b) of the directive, is an autonomous concept of EU law which must be interpreted in the same way in all EU member states that have introduced a private copying exception.
  • The fair balance between the persons concerned means that fair compensation must be calculated on the basis of the harm caused to authors of protected works by the reproduction for private use of the protected works without their authorisation. This is consistent with the fair balance requirement that the debtors of the fair compensation are those individuals who make digital reproduction equipment, devices and media available to private users.
  • The indiscriminate application of the private copying levy with respect to all digital reproduction equipment, devices and media is incompatible with Article 5.2(b) of the directive, because according to the article, a link is necessary between the application of the levy and the deemed use of the mentioned equipment for the purposes of private copying.
  • The national court is competent to determine the compatibility of the Spanish private copying levy with the directive.

Comment

In light of the ECJ's comments, it can be concluded that the private copying levy is lawful, but that its indiscriminate application to all digital devices, without taking into account who acquires them and whether the presumed use will be for private copy, is not.

The Barcelona Court of Appeal must now determine whether the application of the private copying levy is consistent with the law.

For further information on this topic please contact Leticia Lloret or Jana Salvador at Grau & Angulo by telephone (+34 91 353 36 77) or by fax (+34 91 350 26 64) or by email (l.lloret@gba-ip.com or j.salvador@gba-ip.com).

 

New Zealand: Draft Patents Bill guidelines on computer-related inventions

Draft Patents Bill guidelines on computer-related inventions

Contributed by A J Park


The Ministry of Economic Development has prepared draft examination guidelines on the treatment of computer-related inventions in New Zealand. Submissions on the proposed guidelines are due by March 11 2011.

The Commerce Select Committee reported back on the Patents Bill on March 30 2010. The report included a suggested amendment that would exclude all computer programs from patent protection (for further details please see "Select committee report on Patents Bill: computer software not patentable").

The ministry was reported to be considering a wording amendment to allow the patenting of some computer programs. The amendment was expected to bring the wording of the exclusion closer to the restriction contained in the European Patent Convention. However, in July 2010 Commerce Minister Simon Power announced that he considered a further amendment to be neither necessary nor desirable. He instructed officials to develop guidelines to allow the patenting of some computer programs.

Guidelines and regulations would normally have been expected after the bill's enactment. However, the minister has asked for draft guidelines to be prepared before enactment in order to seek comments from interested parties. The consultation is intended to ensure that the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand gives proper effect to the legislative exclusion in a manner that is likely to find support from a New Zealand court. The guidelines set out the proposed approach to be taken by examiners when examining patent applications that contain claims involving computer programs. The guidelines formulate an adaptation of the Aerotel test applied by the English Court of Appeal.

The proposed approach encourages examiners to:

  • construe the claim properly;
  • identify the actual contribution; and
  • determine whether such contribution falls solely within the excluded subject matter.

The claimed invention will be assessed against the prior art base to determine what contribution - if any - is made to the stock of human knowledge. The claimed subject matter must produce an end result which is an artificially created state of affairs in the field of economic endeavour, and must produce a physical effect. Where the performance of a method causes physical changes in an apparatus, the physical changes must be consequential - that is, they must be essential to the contribution of the invention and not peripheral. A normal interaction between a computer and a computer program is not considered to be an invention unless a physical effect is produced.

The guidelines propose the following questions to determine whether the contribution falls solely within excluded subject matter:

  • Is the artefact or process new and non-obvious merely because there is a computer program? If so, it is excluded.
  • Would the artefact or process still be new and non-obvious in principle if the same decisions and commands were undertaken in a different way? If not, it is excluded.
  • Is the computer program merely a tool adapted to achieve efficiency or something similar? If so, it is unlikely to be excluded.

The Aerotel test contains a fourth step of checking whether the actual or alleged contribution is technical in nature. The proposed guidelines do not suggest checking for a technical contribution. It is expected that the existence of a technical contribution will be assessed in determining whether a physical effect exists.

For further information on this topic please contact Matt Adams at A J Park by telephone (+64 9 356 6996), fax (+64 9 356 6990) or email (matt.adams@ajpark.com).

 

India: Analysis of compulsory licensing provisions

Analysis of compulsory licensing provisions

Contributed by Singh & Associates


The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion recently published its discussion paper on the compulsory licensing of patents. The paper mainly deals with the compulsory licensing provisions of the patent laws. The department has also invited views and suggestions on the same. The paper's objective is to develop a predictable environment for the use of measures related to compulsory licensing. It is also a tool for government discussion on the subject, allowing for an appropriate policy decision to be made at an appropriate time.

Compulsory licensing

According to the compulsory licensing system, the government is empowered to allow third parties to produce and market a patented product or process with or without the patent owner's consent. This mechanism has been developed to maintain a balance between rewarding patentees and the need to make inventions available to the public. Under the Patents Act, the objective is to balance patentees' rights and monopolies, but at the same time to ensure the working of patents in India, the availability of patented products at a reasonable price, the promotion and dissemination of technological inventions and the protection of public health.

Compulsory licensing is an integral part of the patent regime. Article 5(2) of the Paris Convention provides as follows:

"Each country of the Union shall have the right to take legislative measures providing for the grant of compulsory licenses to prevent the abuses which might result from the exercise of the exclusive rights conferred by the patent, for example, failure to work."

The concept of compulsory licensing has already been successfully applied in many developed countries, and after the Doha Declaration on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) and Public Health, many developing and less-developed countries have also adopted the concept. The Indian regime incorporates a provision for the mandatory working of patents and, in case of 'non-working' patents, compulsory licences can be granted to an interested party on request. However, while the procedure and tests are detailed under the law, no compulsory licences have been issued in India to date.

TRIPs provisions

Articles 30 and 31 of TRIPs provide for the issuance of compulsory licences to third parties. Article 30 states that limited exceptions are to be provided to the rights conferred by patents, provided that they do not "unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the patent owner, taking into account the legitimate interests of third parties". Article 31 contains conditions for qualification for use without the rights holder's authorisation. According to this article, the local requirement conditions for public non-commercial use or circumstances of national emergency or extreme urgency are not required where such licensing is aimed at anti-competitive prices. Furthermore, Section XIV of TRIPs stipulates the adequate remuneration to be paid to the right holder.

National Pharmaceutical Policy and Parliamentary Standing Committee

According to the paper, the National Pharmaceutical Policy 2002 was aimed at ensuring the adequate supply of good-quality essential pharmaceuticals of mass consumption at affordable prices. The draft National Pharmaceutical Policy 2006, while acknowledging the satisfactory growth of pharmaceutical products, proposed to enact a new law to exercise a more effective price control mechanism of drugs, creating a National List of Essential Medicines consisting of 354 drugs and thus strengthening the drug regulatory system, limiting trade margins and negotiating prices for patented drugs.

On August 4 2010 the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare presented its 45th report on "Issues Relating to the Availability of Generic, Generic Branded and Branded Medicines, their Formulations and Therapeutic Efficacy and Effectiveness". This report addressed the following issues:

  • the high prices of newly patented drugs due to a lack of regulation by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority; the report highlighted the need to bring these under the ambit of the authority;
  • the need for checks of unorthodox practices undertaken by drug companies whereby regulated drugs are substituted with new ingredients in popular brands to avoid regulation; and
  • the takeover of Indian drug companies by foreign companies and the need to generate policy options to "ensure that major Indian pharmaceutical companies remain in Indian hands".

The paper went on to state that India is recognised as a leading global player in the manufacture of medicines. It ranks third in terms of volume of production and 14th in terms of value. Despite this fact, India has a large unmet demand for critical medicines. According to the World Health Organisation's World Medicine Situation 2004, 65% of the Indian population still lacks access to essential medicines.(1) This situation has arisen due to the export-orientated production of medicines by pharmaceutical companies. The takeover of Indian companies and strategic alliances by multinationals will further worsen the situation. Given this background, the need for affordable and high-quality medicines is critical for the sustainable growth of the Indian economy.

Concerns relating to drug prices and availability

The sales of India's top 10 pharmaceutical companies represent nearly 39% of the total industry sales. Compared to 1998 to 1999, after recent takeovers, there are now three multinationals in the top 10. If this trend continues, an oligopolistic market will develop, which will result in a small number of companies dictating the prices of drugs that are critical for addressing public health concerns, including fighting front-line diseases such as HIV, AIDS and hepatitis C. Furthermore, if large Indian generic pharmaceutical companies are taken over themselves, there will be no one to manufacture drugs based on the compulsory licences issued to them, and thus the cheap and effective generic drugs industry may be threatened. The paper suggests the following reasons for this predicted situation:

  • If taken over, the Indian companies will no longer be willing to apply for compulsory licences, even if eligible. Thus, their deterrent threat is weakened.
  • In case of a public emergency, adequate and capable drug manufacturers may not be available to come forward, apply for a compulsory licence and work the patent at a reasonable cost.
  • The foreign companies may utilise the marketing channels of the acquired Indian companies to sell more expensive patented drugs or branded generics, rather than the cheaper generics that were previously being sold.
  • Under foreign control, the Indian companies will no longer be interested in taking grants from the government or state support to manufacture relevant essential drugs.

Available options

The paper also proposes the following options that are available to the government to counter these ensuing problems:

  • In case of a public emergency (eg, a pandemic), or whenever demand is not met, the government should issue compulsory licences to qualified companies to produce the required drugs, thus invoking the government use purpose.
  • The government should invoke the Competition Act 2002 to scrutinise whether the price or availability of a drug is a consequence of an anti-competitive agreement or combination which has an adverse effect on competition or the abuse of a dominant position, and initiate suitable action.
  • The government should review the policy on foreign investment for pharmaceutical companies. The proposals for mergers and acquisitions in the pharmaceutical sector should be scrutinised by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.
  • The government should expand the ambit of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority and vest it with the power to regulate the prices of a larger number of drugs than the present 74.

Compulsory licence categories

While dealing with legal provisions for the grant of compulsory licences, the paper divides compulsory licences into two categories.

Category I CL
Category I CL includes compulsory licences issued by the government by way of notification (Section 92 of the Patents Act) on the following grounds:

  • circumstances of national emergency;
  • circumstances of extreme urgency; and
  • in case of public non-commercial use.

Compulsory licences issued under Section 92A of the act for the export of pharmaceutical products and compulsory licences issued under Section 100 for government use also come under this category.

Category II CL
Category II CL includes compulsory licences issued under Section 84 of the Patents Act. The essential element for issuance of compulsory licences is the ability of the applicant to prove that:

  • the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the patented invention have not been satisfied;
  • the patented invention is not available to the public at a reasonably affordable price; or
  • the patented invention is not worked in India.

Issues for resolution

Finally, the paper lists the issues for resolution, which are as follows:

"1. Are guidelines necessary or required for the issue of compulsory licences?

2. Do the requirements for issue of a notification by the Central Government (national emergency; extreme urgency; public non-commercial use) under Section 92 require amplification through issue of guidelines?

3. How should recourse to issue of a compulsory licence under Section 92 and recourse to use by the Central Government of an invention under Section 100 be differentiated in the matter of use? Under what circumstances should each be invoked?

4. Can products manufactured under a Category I licence be effectively distributed solely through government channels? Does issue of Category I CL envisage sale of the compulsory licensed goods outside the ambit of government and in the market?

5. Should CLs be issued on the basis of anti-competition law - if it is determined that companies have abused their dominant position in the market or engaged in unfair competition?

6. Should working of a patent in the territory of India be interpreted to mean that it should be manufactured within the territory of India?

7. How should the essential elements of a Category II CL outlined in Para 54 and 55 above be proved by the applicant to the satisfaction of the Controller?

8. What should be the basis for royalty payments to compensate for CLs? Should a uniform stance be taken for Category I CLs; Category II CLs and Central Government use of inventions? Or should a differential approach be adopted?

9. Should the Controller be obligated to examine and take a final view on all CL applications within a specified time period? What should this time period be?"

Through publication of its paper on invoking compulsory licensing, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion seeks to invite views and suggestions on these issues for resolution. Based on expert advice and suggestions, the government will take the necessary steps to address the issue of the availability of essential medicines to the general public at affordable prices, either by issuing new guidelines or by enacting a new law.

For further information on this topic please contact Manoj Kumar Singh at Singh & Associates by telephone (+91 11 4666 5000), fax (+91 11 4666 5001) or email (manoj@singhassociates.in).

Endnotes

(1) World Health Organisation's World Medicine Situation 2004, quoting 1999 figures.