Compromise for most developing countries it was only

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compromise for most developing countries, it was only the starting point for many other nations, which have since then promoted excessive protection of private investor interests through bilateral trade agreements, often at the expense of wider public interests. While patent protection is getting stronger in all sectors in a large number of countries, the conditions for its grant are becoming greatly relaxed. Not only do such lax patenting
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29 | Page 9004418746 [email protected] requirements allow companies to claim patents more broadly or consecutively, with little show of original effort as in the case of evergreening but also patents can be claimed on all possible inventions (and discoveries) that are of relevance to the present, and even to the future. Corporate libertarians lobby their governments for absolute protection of intellectual property (IP) rights of corporations. For India, the fate of its pharmaceutical and software sectors swings in the balance, and guaranteeing fair and unfettered competition will be critical to ensure that we do not lose more ground to global companies abroad and at home. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s recent Trade and Development Report calls for stronger measures to protect domestic sectors against the undue domination of large companies, particularly in high-profit sectors such as pharmaceuticals, media and information and communications technology (ICT), where foreign companies still account for most of the transfer of profits across borders. The report uses data for U.S. multinational companies (MNCs) and their foreign affiliates in India to show that patent reforms have led to significant increases in the rates of return to affiliates of American companies by enabling monopoly profits when compared to publicly listed and locally headquartered companies, which are increasingly being left behind. In the pharmaceutical sector, for example, the analysis that ranges 20 years (from 1996) shows that profits of domestic companies are in sharp decline since the late 2000s while those for the American MNC affiliates operating in the Indian market are rising steeply. A similar trend is visible in the ICTs sector as well. These issues are central and not just related to one country. There are ongoing attempts by big business to push for new rules in areas such as e-commerce to slice up profit-making opportunities of the future. Other proposals being made will largely limit the ability of governments to constrain corporate behaviour in the public interest.
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