TRIPS Regime in UAE

The UAE joined the World Trade Organization in the year 1995 with the express knowledge that in order to get an opportunity for the economic growth of the country the membership of WTO is a must. Subsequently UAE was also made to adhere to the provisions of General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and TRIPS. UAE could get some exemptions in respect of the activities of the financial sector although there are no discriminations in investments or shareholding between nationals and non-nationals under WTO agreement.

UAE has committed itself to the implementation of TRIPS in respect of the use of trademarks, patents and copyrights, industrial designs and other integrated circuit and secret data which can be valued commercially. The country had also committed to grant patents in respect of ingredients to pharmaceutical preparations and use of agricultural chemicals. In general there had been a quite a number of occasions where there were abuses of Intellectual property in the region. However UAE had taken the necessary steps to eradicate the abuses.

A number of measures taken by the country at the federal and emirate level had proved to be effective in the direction of fighting the abuses of copyrights and trademarks. UAE has been recognized as the forerunner in implementing the TRIPS agreement. There is a close cooperation between the officials of the UAE federal and emirate government with the companies like Microsoft and Disney, in combating the war against piracy. As far as the pharmaceuticals patent protection is concerned despite the assurances given by the government the country has not completed the efforts of passing a patent legislation.

However in the year 1992 a new patent law was enacted by the UAE. Under Article 6. 2 specific exemption is granted to the medicines and pharmaceutical compounds from the protection of patents for individual products. Ineffective process patents are the only protection available for medicines and drugs. It is important to note that the compulsory licensing provisions do not adhere to the requirements of TRIPS agreement. There must also be a statement that importation conditions that do not meet the local working requirements would amount to violating the TRIPS agreement.

.Unlike the new legislations in the trademarks and copyrights the country had not made a good progress on the pharmaceutical area. In the matter of copyrights the United Arab Emirates have enacted a Federal Law in the year 2002 to cover the copyrights and other related aspects. The law was designed to extend the necessary protection to the rights of authors and other content owners. After UAE entered into the TRIPS Agreement in the year 1996 the country was made to implement the provisions of the Agreement.

By making the Federal Law No 40 in the year 1992 UAE had amended its copyright law to include the important provisions of the Bern, WIPO treaties, and TRIPS. Hence the UAE copyrights law had the impact of the language and the structure of all of these international regulatory frameworks in its formulation. Bangladesh by signing to the GATT Uruguay Round and World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, including the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), had committed to implement the TRIPS agreement form the beginning of the year 2000 by regulating the legal framework in the country.

The membership of Bangladesh with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Geneva is operative from the year 1985. The provisions of the Patents and Designs Act with all its amendments and the Patents and Designs Rules, 1933 protect the patent rights in Bangladesh. However the patent protection is available only in respect of the process of producing the pharmaceutical product and not for the product as such. . In this context the local industry plays a very important role by resorting to import of ingredients, manufacture and rebranding them for sale in the domestic market.

There is no attraction for the foreign companies to supply to any segment of the Bangladesh market as it is not financially workable for them. The health care system of Bangladesh thus is taken care of by the low cost producers of medicines with no research and developmental efforts for improvements. In this the country does not have any initiative to provide for the full protection for pharmaceutical products before the final deadline of 2016. The system of compulsory licensing also does not work in view of the following.

Article 31 of the TRIPS agreement regulates the compulsory licensing including the provision of a fair compensation and stringent limitations on the right to export. It is also true that the local manufacturers of the country do not possess the required technical capacity to use compulsory licensing to produce medicines from generic ingredients. The usage of compulsory licensing in imports can be found only when there are cheaper sources of supply from abroad. The pharmaceutical industry in Bangladesh can be regarded as the largest in the least developed countries.

Although the country does not have enough resources to conduct research for the innovation and patenting of new medicines, the country adopts the practice of importing generic active ingredients and manufacture medicines out of them. For the developing countries in which most of the genetic producers are there the TRIPS rules may act to cut off the supply of generic active ingredients, when the producers are granted protection by the beginning of the year 2005.

However the Doha Declarations on TRIPS and Public health Bangladesh has been given the permission to hold the protection until the year 2016. Normally this extension should provide the country to continue its manufacturing operations of medicines from the imported generic ingredients. But the complicated provisions of compulsory licensing and parallel imports in the TRIPS agreement have not allowed the country to develop the industry to its fullest potential.