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IP rights in the international forum

Since 2008, the United States has been negotiating with 11 other countries to establish an international free trade arrangement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP. The parties have been proceeding slowly; the countries recently entered into their 19th round of discussions.

International business disputes could potentially be mitigated if multi-country coalitions would enforce and respect international agreements. Although only a limited number of countries are involved in the TPP, establishing a framework for IP protection would send a message to other countries not to ignore international laws. India is one of a number of countries that have failed to adhere to international agreements concerning IP law. In 2012 alone, nine U.S. products protected by a patent had those patents either revoked or denied by India. While business litigation may resolve patent disputes within the U.S., U.S. laws cannot be imposed on an international forum.

Companies that experiment with medicines to be submitted to the FDA go through anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 medicines on average before being granted one approval. These companies typically invest more than $1 billion dollars before being awarded a patent.

In India, international agreements concerning IP rights have been ignored so that the country may grow its own domestic pharmaceutical industries. A failure to protect U.S. intellectual property might remove the incentive to dedicate time and resources to finding cures for pressing and ongoing diseases like cancer, since companies might not be willing to tackle more complex medical issues if there was no prospective payout. Business attorneys may help researchers litigate within the U.S. to protect their intellectual property rights. An attorney could investigate a business' individual situation and come up with a legal plan of action in order to combat copyright infringements.

Source: Forbes, "Intellectual Property Rights Matter", Doug Schoen, September 24, 2013

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