Trans-Pacific Partnership: Will Intellectual Property Rights Be Strong Enough?

Having passed the Senate, it is now up to the House of Representatives to decide whether to give President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA, or “fast track”) to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Most Congressional Republicans who support TPA also advocate strong intellectual property rights. However, one concern with TPA is that it is uncertain the President will negotiate strong intellectual property rights in the TPP. What will these Republicans do if the final version of the TPP does not have adequate protection for investment in intellectual property?

One example is the protection of data exclusivity for inventors of new biotech products. The U.S. has the gold standard – 12 years – and it is reasonable to seek this standard in the TPP.

When it comes to pharmaceutical patents, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch is on the side of protection intellectual property with respect to current trading partners. He recently criticized the president for not doing enough to pressure India (which is not in the TPP) to improve its patent protection.

On the other hand, he was the Senate champion for fast track for TPP. Is this consistent?

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