More Said Than Done: Holdup Concerns for Developing Nations during the Coronavirus Outbreak

By Matthew Pham 

I. INTRODUCTION

In the midst of a virus outbreak, all the world scrambles to remedy the situation. The speed and effort at which the world mobilizes itself is heavily driven in part by the promise that the costs related to helping out are going to be paid back.[1] This certainty is solidified in part through the complex network of IP rights that keep track of who contributed what in the international process of crisis control.[2] Arguably, without these intellectual property rights, the speed at which the world could mobilize technological innovations would be slower.[3]

However, IP rights can also prove to hinder the public interest by adding bureaucracy and red tape.[4] On top of stalling from regulations and approvals, pharmaceutical technologies are also stalled at the negotiating table.[5] Certain laws allow the latter problem to be solved through the mechanisms of compulsory licensing and parallel imports.[6] The World Trade Organization provision that provides this avenue essentially permits a drug to be provided and licensed without the patent owner’s permission.[7] Although meant to be an expediting process, the strong interests of IP owners, primarily in the United States, create pressure for other countries to forgo using the provision.[8] As a result, developing countries put more time and effort navigating the IP landscape, slowing down their main objective of providing essential drugs to their domestic markets.[9]

Such may be the case for the latest outbreak of the Corona Virus (or COVID-19). Since last year the virus has propagated from its source in Wuhan outwards into many countries.[10] The virus is causing rising concern in nations, markets and the public at large.[11] Since developing and implementing remedies to a crisis is a complex, multi-step and technological challenge, intellectual property (particularly patent law) finds itself in every aspect of the coronavirus issue.[12] Patents have been and are being filed in every aspect surrounding the coronavirus, including diagnostic tests, vaccines and even strains of the virus itself.[13]

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Let Me See Your Phone: The U.S. Should Follow the U.K. In Allowing Border Agents to Search Electronic Devices at U.S. Borders

By: Aldina Kahari

I. Introduction

On average, approximately one million people cross the Mexico-U.S. border in each direction every day.[1] Of those crossings, only a handful occur illegally.[2] In 2017, there were almost 77 million international arrivals into the U.S., including arrivals from Mexico and Canada.[3] As our use of technology is ever-increasing, the amount of electronic devices that travelers bring along with them is increasing along with it.[4] In 2017, border agents at the U.S. border and at airports searched nearly 30,200 cellphones, computers, and other electronic devices of travelers entering and exiting the United States.[5] These numbers are an almost sixty percent increase from 2016.[6] With the growth in the use of portable technology such as cellphones and laptops, there remain many unanswered questions as to how and when searches of electronic devices can be conducted at our nation’s borders.[7]

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The Forgotten World of IP: How Can Intellectual Property Be Securitized and How It Should Be Regulated

By: Rachit Parikh

I. Introduction

The 2008 financial crisis spurred Congress into action and led them to enact regulation to protect consumers from financial institutions.[1] The regulation became known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (hereinafter “Dodd-Frank Act”).[2] Broadly, the goal of the act was to regulate both bank-based financial companies and non-bank financial companies, such as hedge funds, from risky lending, and to protect consumers from these type of actions.[3] More specifically, Congress enacted sets of rules that regulated securitizations of asset backed securities which used different forms of loans as collateral.[4] However, one aspect that has been overlooked is whether these provisions also govern intellectual property assets such as patents and copyrights.

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