Bonum Certa Men Certa

Cablegate: US Embassy Recommends That Argentina is Put on Monopolists' Watch List, Free Software Adoption Noted

Cablegate



Summary: A multi-year attempt to change Argentina through surrender to so-called 'IPR' monopolies (not Free software) and the role of a "watch list" (like sex offenders registry)

THE GOVERNMENT of Argentina (GOA) is under attack. Colonists from up north are adamant and determined to change Argentinian law not into something that benefits the population but something that benefits corporations. Argentinian corporations? Of course not. It's about multinationals. The following cables are good demonstration of a lobby for so-called "IPR", which is this case is clearly broken down into Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks.



For those who are just joining us, the other day we covered the United States stating that “42 percent of Argentine firms use Linux on at least some of their computers,” which was the cause of some concern in a "sensitive" cable. Today's 2006 Cablegate cable helps show another bit of concern about Argentines using copyleft software, which weakens the agenda of copyright maximalists. And for those who wish to know more about Argentina, also see:



In the following cables, watch how US diplomats based in Argentina are trying to pressure Argentina to be more like the US, with patent monopolies and everything. There is lobbying by big pharmaceutical companies that also fund this type of colonisation (yes, funding change of the law overseas). "Argentina amended its patent law (Law 24,481) in December 2003," it says, "to implement an agreement between the USG and the GOA that had been signed in May 2002."

A pattern we see in those cables is that they put monopolies before life, knowingly jeopardising the lives of many ill people just so that they can secure the profits of American companies. The tactics are damning to US politics/foreign affairs and also damning to Monsanto with its food embargoes. To quote ۦ16, "Argentine farmers have the right to replant -- although not to sell -- seed generated from a harvest originating from registered seeds without paying royalties. However, Argentine farmers continue to sell "brown bag" seed (as opposed to bags of seed showing brand names) as brand-name product. This is a widespread problem with soybean seed, and it underlies Monsanto's recent court actions in Europe, which have resulted in ships carrying Argentine soy being stopped and the cargo seized. Monsanto's actions are aimed at collecting royalties that Argentine farmers are not paying via legal challenges in countries in which Monsanto has patent protection for the Roundup Ready soybean technology."

And here is something from the Comment and Recommendation section: "the Argentine legal system remains an uncertain ally in the fight to protect intellectual property."

Free software is mentioned in there too (ۦ13). To quote: "Use/Procurement of Government Software: The GOA has yet to fully comply with its 1999 agreement with the local software industry to legalize unlicensed software used in offices of the national government, and many GOA offices continue to use pirated software. Ministry of Interior Director of Information Management Eduardo Thill told a local news outlet in January 2005 that 90 percent of GOA agencies employing licensed software are using it illegally. There is a GOA move toward open source software, according to Thill, but there has been no legislation to date to bind the GOA to open source software solutions. That situation held true throughout 2005, although a representative of Thill's office told the Embassy February 2006 that the percentage of GOA agencies using licensed software illegally had fallen to between 80 and 85 percent."

They are blending FOSS and "pirated software" again.

The full text follows:








VZCZCXYZ0000 RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0406/01 0482043 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 172043Z FEB 06 FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3529 INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5344 RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 5128 RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ FEB MONTEVIDEO 5320 RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 4944 RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 1875 RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 2769

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000406

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EB/IPE CLACROSSE AND ANNA MARIA ADAMO DEPT PLS PASS TO USTR JCHOE-GROVES DOC FOR JBOGER, PLEASE PASS TO USPTO JURBAN AND LOC STEPP

E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KIPR [Intellectual Property Rights], ETRD [Foreign Trade], ECON [Economic Conditions], AR [Argentina] SUBJECT: ARGENTINA'S 2006 SPECIAL 301 REVIEW

REF: A. STATE 014937

B. 05 BUENOS AIRES 01566 C. 05 BUENOS AIRES 01047

------- Summary -------

ۦ1. Argentine entities responsible for upholding IPR failed to translate the momentum from a strong 2004 into tangible successes in 2005. U.S. pharmaceutical companies are still waiting for commercially valuable patents; CD and DVD piracy rates appear to be rising, despite Argentina's economic recovery; and a piece of draft legislation that would have bolstered the protection of trademarked goods died in committee during the year. The Embassy therefore recommends that Argentina remain on the Special 301 Priority Watch List until it can begin to point to concrete results across the IPR gamut and, more specifically, until it ensures effective protection of confidential and proprietary data developed by pharmaceutical companies. End Summary.

------- Patents -------

ۦ2. Argentina's patent and trademark agency, The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), made significant progress toward streamlining Argentina's patent system over the past several years. That system appeared close to breakdown until 2002, with patent applications coming in much more quickly than they could be processed. From 1995 until 2002, for example, the INPI received 47,573 patent applications but was able to resolve only 28,190 of those in the queue, for a deficit of over 19,000 applications in those eight years alone. That situation has now turned around, with the INPI receiving 14,106 patent applications during 2003-2005 and resolving 18,334 during the same period. Additionally, the rate at which the number of applications resolved exceeds the number of applications received is increasing.

ۦ3. INPI's improved efficiency stems from a number of reforms that began to be introduced in 2003. The INPI, via a series of resolutions, implemented fast-track procedures to reduce what had grown to be a large patent application backlog of over 30,000 cases. Specifically, all persons or companies having more than one patent application pending were given the opportunity to rank-order their applications, allowing them to jump the application of a potentially more-valuable product ahead of a less-promising application that had been submitted at an earlier date. U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies are also now authorized to present studies used in other patent-granting countries to support patent requests in Argentina, significantly easing the INPI's investigation requirements.

ۦ4. The GOA also increased the INPI's budget by 11 percent in 2004, and kept those gains during 2005. The extra money allowed the hiring of 27 new patent examiners, 10 of them in the key pharmaceutical area. That initiative doubled the total number of pharmaceutical examiners to 20. The INPI has instituted a system of in-house training that an INPI executive told Econoff has increased the examiners' efficiency by up to 30 percent. One result has been a reduction in the time it takes a patent application to receive a preliminary examination from fifteen months to eleven months. In another positive development, the INPI sent two of its pharmaceutical inspectors to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) academy for training in 2005. That training, arranged by the Embassy and jointly funded by the USPTO and research-based pharmaceutical companies, was a first for Argentine patent inspectors. The Embassy also arranged for an Argentine appeals court judge specializing in IPR cases to attend USPTO training, another first.

ۦ5. The gains mentioned above, while undeniably positive, proceed from a very low baseline. The right to patent pharmaceutical products in Argentina was recognized only in 1996, and the first pharmaceutical patents were issued following the expiration of the TRIPS transition period in October 2000. Even those patents were for approximately 80 products of marginal commercial value. A small number of other pharmaceutical patents of greater value were granted in subsequent years, but only after long and arduous processes. Many of the patent applications the INPI counted as "resolved" during 2005 were simply discarded after the applicant failed to respond to an INPI instruction to formally reaffirm the application.

ۦ6. The lack of patents for many products, coupled with Argentina's devaluation in 2002, which resulted in sharp price increases for imported products, increased incentives for local pharmaceutical companies to produce unlicensed copies of products that had been patented or for which patents were pending. The combination of these factors has had a negative effect on the Argentina-derived business of U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies. According to CAEMe, the Argentine association that represents U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies, local pharmaceutical firms now have over 50 percent of the Argentine market and have reached almost 50 percent of the export market.

ۦ7. Argentina amended its patent law (Law 24,481) in December 2003 to implement an agreement between the USG and the GOA that had been signed in May 2002. That agreement came after approximately three years of consultations under the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism. In a related development, the U.S. agreed to give consideration to an Argentine request to add specific products to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) that allows for duty-free entry into the U.S. The remaining unresolved pharmaceutical patent issue relates to the effective legal protection of confidential and proprietary data developed by pharmaceutical companies to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of new medicines. U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies believe this to be a critical issue and Argentina and the U.S. have agreed to leave this issue within the WTO dispute settlement mechanism for future action. (Note: The absence of data protection has lead research-based pharmaceutical companies to complain that Argentine health regulatory authorities (ANMAT) rely inappropriately on data supplied by research-based companies to approve unauthorized copies of innovative medicines. According to CAEMe, ANMAT interprets the public disclosure of partial data as an indicator that the data should be regarded as in the public domain.)

ۦ8. U.S. pharmaceutical companies also remain concerned about the legal implications of two specific clauses in the 2003 agreement. Specifically, the amendment mandates an expert opinion that can challenge the validity of a patent, and requires consideration of the economic impact of an injunction on both parties before the seizure of goods alleged to violate the patent law. Since the agreement was signed, research-based pharmaceutical companies have feared that those clauses could preclude the granting of preliminary injunctive relief and limit the success they have achieved in protecting their products through the use of preliminary injunctions.

ۦ9. 2005 was the first year during which those fears were realized. A U.S.-based pharmaceutical company discovered several competitors trying to sell copies of its most profitable drug, and sought injunctions to prevent those sales. In one case, the issuance of an injunction was delayed for months, and in another the application for an injunction was rejected by a judge swayed by a local expert hired by the defense, who claimed that the copycat drug did not violate the U.S. pharmaceutical company's patent. In another instance, a different U.S.-based pharmaceutical company went to court to remove five copies of one of its joint-venture drugs from the Argentine market. In a promising ruling, the judge issued injunctions ordering the copies off the market (Reftel B). More than six months after the decision, however, those injunctions have yet to be enforced.

ۦ10. A frequent complaint of U.S. pharmaceutical companies is that there remains in Argentina no regulatory linkage between the INPI and the ANMAT. While such linkage is not required by TRIPS, its absence in Argentina allows ANMAT to grant local pharmaceutical producers authorization to manufacture and sell products that have already been patented or for which a patent has been requested. The Embassy and multinational pharmaceutical companies have urged the GOA to establish a linkage between ANMAT and INPI that would prevent ANMAT from continuing to authorize local pharmaceuticals to produce products for which an INPI patent has been granted or is pending. There were hints during 2005 of the beginnings of a cooperative relationship between INPI and ANMAT (Reftel C), but the Embassy has no evidence that such cooperation has developed. As things stand, U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies must incur the legal costs of obtaining injunctions to stop the production and sale of products produced by local pharmaceutical companies for which the research-based companies have INPI patents.

ۦ11. Law 25,649 adopted in 2002 requires medical doctors to use a drug's generic name in all prescriptions. It is believed that this law diverts sales from innovative medicines to TRIPS-infringing copy products. U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies say that true generics do not exist in Argentina because copy products are not required to demonstrate their bioequivalence or bioavailability with original products, meaning local producers can sell drug copies that lack quality and safety assurances. According to Law 25,649, doctors may also include a trademarked version of a drug in their prescriptions, but pharmacists may still offer a substitute. According to Law 25,649, reasons must be indicated on a prescription if a medical doctor does not want the prescription substituted by a pharmacist. Another area of concern is that Argentina has yet to become a contracting state to the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty.

---------- Copyrights ----------

ۦ12. Optical Media Piracy: The incidence of CD and DVD piracy in Argentina does not appear to have declined in 2005. Problems in this area include the widespread and open sale of pirated copies of albums and videos and an apparently increasing number of businesses that offer home delivery of pirated artistic content. Argentina's laws provide generally good nominal protection. However, the lack of any real bite (pirates have not faced jail time), coupled with the extra incentive provided by Argentina's devaluation in 2002, which spiked prices for imported media, has spurred piracy. A local attorney working copyright issues told Econoff that his clients estimate that losses to U.S. companies due to optical media piracy in Argentina exceeded USD 150 million in 2004. The same attorney said that while the Argentine legal system does not function at a first-world level, it is "not bad for the region." The legal system will generally respond when needed to effect the seizure of counterfeit media, the attorney said, but the existence of a personal relationship with relevant authorities is helpful. Still, his client (a IP content trade association) worked with police to effect over 200 raids and seize over 100,000 pirated discs during 2005.

ۦ13. Use/Procurement of Government Software: The GOA has yet to fully comply with its 1999 agreement with the local software industry to legalize unlicensed software used in offices of the national government, and many GOA offices continue to use pirated software. Ministry of Interior Director of Information Management Eduardo Thill told a local news outlet in January 2005 that 90 percent of GOA agencies employing licensed software are using it illegally. There is a GOA move toward open source software, according to Thill, but there has been no legislation to date to bind the GOA to open source software solutions. That situation held true throughout 2005, although a representative of Thill's office told the Embassy February 2006 that the percentage of GOA agencies using licensed software illegally had fallen to between 80 and 85 percent.

ۦ14. Amendments to Existing Legislation: A promising piece of legislation to modernize Argentina's quarter-century old trademark law (Law 22,362) died in committee in 2005. That draft law, introduced in August 2004, contained several measures that would have strengthened Argentina's anti-trademark piracy regime. Specifically, the draft law would have: involved Argentina's tax agency (AFIP) in trademark piracy (counterfeit merchandise) investigations; expanded the authority of Argentina's Financial Investigations Unit (UIF) to include trademark piracy among the crimes that entity is able to investigate; and increased penalties for those convicted of trademark piracy (eliminating community service as a possible sentence). The Embassy was told by a local attorney who helped to draft the legislation that it will be re-introduced in April 2006. The same attorney blames the failure of the bill on the lethargy of local Argentine business chambers, which he said did not actively support the effort.

---------- Trademarks ----------

ۦ15. Argentina's trademark law (Law 22,362) fulfills international standards, but legislation subsequent to its enactment has rendered it relatively ineffective, with penalties limited to probation and fines that are not high enough to act as a significant deterrent (see paragraph 14). The process of renewing trademarks is an area where INPI's increasing efficiency has become evident. Whereas an applicant for renewal had to wait five months only a few years ago, the process is now completed in less than two months. Raids by local police on flea markets where counterfeit merchandise is openly sold have not been frequent or widespread enough to lessen the availability of pirated goods. Representatives of industries frequently targeted by counterfeiters claim that over forty large, well-established markets exist in Buenos Aires alone that are almost completely dedicated to the sale of counterfeit goods (in addition to innumerable smaller points of sale throughout the country).

------------- Plant Variety -------------

ۦ16. Argentine farmers have the right to replant -- although not to sell -- seed generated from a harvest originating from registered seeds without paying royalties. However, Argentine farmers continue to sell "brown bag" seed (as opposed to bags of seed showing brand names) as brand-name product. This is a widespread problem with soybean seed, and it underlies Monsanto's recent court actions in Europe, which have resulted in ships carrying Argentine soy being stopped and the cargo seized. Monsanto's actions are aimed at collecting royalties that Argentine farmers are not paying via legal challenges in countries in which Monsanto has patent protection for the Roundup Ready soybean technology. Farm associations and industry representatives generally agree that Argentina must elaborate and enact a new seed law that better protects intellectual property, but negotiations toward that end have broken down as of this writing. The sale of "brown-bag" seed from Argentina to neighboring countries has also led to the significant production of unregistered biotech soybeans in Brazil and Paraguay. Argentina is a party to the 1978 Act of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), but has not signed the 1991 UPOV convention.

-------- Training --------

ۦ17. Reluctance by the various enforcement entities to cooperate with each other is a problem that has long contributed to ineffective anti-piracy action in Argentina. The Embassy would therefore encourage any IPR training that emphasizes a team approach and brings together representatives from the full range of GOA institutions involved in anti-piracy efforts. The trust and familiarity that would result from such officials being brought together, even if only for a short training session, would help to foster inter-agency teamwork of the sort necessary to effectively combat piracy.

-------------------------- Comment and Recommendation -------------------------- ۦ18. The Embassy's Special 301 report for 2005 said: "Most of the persons interviewed for this report believe that 2005 will be the year when it becomes clear whether the legal and administrative improvements of the recent past will finally manifest themselves in tangible successes." There was evidence of improvement during 2005, but very few of the hoped-for tangible successes. INPI appears to be functioning more efficiently, but that procedural improvement has not translated into the issuance of patents with significant commercial value for U.S. pharmaceutical companies. Piracy has not diminished, despite a significant recovery from an economic crisis that was a real spur to piracy. Neither has Argentina's legislature taken the steps necessary to clamp down on piracy. As also noted herein, the Argentine legal system remains an uncertain ally in the fight to protect intellectual property. The Embassy therefore recommends that Argentina remain on the Special 301 Priority Watch List for 2006. End Comment.

ۦ19. To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified website at: http//www.state.sgov.gov/p/wh/buenosaires GUTIERREZ







The following cable is from the following year and it says that the "GOA legislation to require use of open source software was introduced in 2001 but never passed."








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DE RUEHBU #0335/01 0521641 ZNR UUUUU ZZH R 211641Z FEB 07 FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7333 RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHINGTON DC RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE USD FAS WASHINGTON DC RHMFIUU/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 5952 RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 6190 RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0198 RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 5798 RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 3171 RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 2157

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000335

SIPDIS

SIPDIS SENSITIVE DEPT FOR EB/TPP/IPE JENNIFER BOGER, RACHEL WALLACE AND ROBERT WATTS DEPT PLS PASS TO USTR JENNIFER CHOE GROVES, SUE CRONIN DOC/ITA/MAC/OIPR FOR CATHERINE PETERS PLEASE PASS TO USPTO JURBAN AND LOC STEPP

E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KIPR [Intellectual Property Rights], ETRD [Foreign Trade], ECON [Economic Conditions], AR [Argentina] SUBJECT: ARGENTINA'S 2007 SPECIAL 301 REVIEW

REF: A. STATE 7944 B. 06 BUENOS AIRES 406

------- Summary -------

ۦ1. (SBU) In 2006, Argentine authorities responsible for providing "adequate and effective protection to intellectual property rights" made few meaningful improvements in IPR legislation, regulation and enforcement and there remain serious weaknesses in each of these areas. Proposed legislative amendments and regulations to strengthen the IPR regime were not implemented in 2006. On patents, the application process continued to improve, with more and more timely adjudications. However, the application backlog remains large, effectively curtailing the period of patent protection, and injunctive relief for patent infringement has been slow and variably enforced. On the key issue of "data confidentiality," there has been no progress, with proprietary third-country pharmaceutical data routinely used by domestic competitors in violation of TRIPS Article 39.3. On copyrights, CD and DVD piracy remains prevalent, illegal internet downloading/distribution has jumped in line with expanded broadband access, and a court decision has sanctioned some photocopying of copyrighted printed material. Trademark falsification remains widespread, with illegal markets poorly policed. Minimalist fines and penalties offer little deterrent to falsification. While Customs authorities were granted broader trademark enforcement powers in 2006, and there were a number of highly publicized seizures of blank and pirated discs, these efforts at best had marginal impact. The Embassy therefore recommends that Argentina remain on the Priority Watch List in 2007, where it has remained since 1996. An Embassy IPR action plan will be detailed Septel. End Summary.

------- Patents -------

ۦ2. (SBU) Argentina's patent and trademark agency, the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), made significant progress toward streamlining Argentina's patent system over the past several years. That system appeared close to breakdown until 2002, with patent applications coming in much more quickly than they could be processed. From 1995 until 2002, for example, INPI received 47,573 patent applications but was able to resolve only 28,190 of those in the queue, for a deficit of over 19,000 applications in those eight years alone. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in 2005 Argentina ranked 18th in the world in patent applications received. The backlog has since declined, with INPI receiving 15,483 patent applications during 2003-2005 and resolving 20,118 during the same period. (Note: This represents total resolutions, which include cases rejected for procedural reasons or abandoned. End Note.) Final approvals and denials after full investigation in 2003-2005 totaled 1,061, 1,778, and 2,670 respectively. In 2006, final approvals and denials jumped to 4,468. INPI officials are targeting 6,000 final approvals and denials in 2007.

ۦ3. (U) INPI's improved efficiency stems from a number of reforms implemented beginning in 2003, including fast-track procedures to reduce a patent application backlog of over 30,000 cases. All applicants with more than one patent application pending were given the opportunity to rank-order their applications (with some restrictions), allowing them to jump the application of a potentially more-valuable product ahead of a less-promising application that had been submitted at an earlier date. A second such opportunity was announced in December 2006. Since 2003, U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies are also allowed to present studies used in third country patent applications to support patent requests in Argentina, significantly easing INPI's investigation requirements.

ۦ4. (SBU) The GOA also increased INPI's real budget resources to allow the hiring of 27 new patent examiners in 2004, doubling the number of pharmaceutical examiners from 10 to 20. According to INPI, improved in-house training has boosted the average number of applications resolved per examiner per year from 52 in 2004 and 69 in 2005 to 84 in 2006, a 62% improvement in two years. As a consequence, the time for a patent application to receive a preliminary examination fell from fifteen months in 2004 to eleven months in 2006. In another positive development, INPI sent two of its pharmaceutical inspectors to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) academy for training in 2005. That training, arranged by the Embassy and jointly funded by the USPTO and research-based pharmaceutical companies, was a first for Argentine patent inspectors. Post is currently working with INPI to explore sending more patent and/or trademark examiners for USPTO training in 2007, which the pharmaceutical chamber has again agreed in principle to support. Post is also working with Argentine Customs authorities to identify appropriate candidates for a customs border enforcement training class, also provided by USPTO.

ۦ5. (SBU) These gains, while undeniably positive, proceed from a very low baseline. The right to patent pharmaceutical products in Argentina was recognized only in 1996, and the first pharmaceutical patents for approximately 80 products of marginal commercial value were only issued following the expiration of the TRIPS transition period in October 2000. A small number of other pharmaceutical patents of greater value were granted in subsequent years, but only after long and arduous processes. Many of the patent applications INPI counted as "resolved" during 2005 were simply discarded after the applicant failed to respond to an INPI instruction to formally reaffirm the application. CAEMe (the Argentine Chamber of Medicinal Specialties, an association that represents U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies) estimates this number as approximately 4000. (Note: While INPI declined to share their estimate of the current year-end 2006 patent application backlog, local industry sources estimate it to be in the 23-24,000 range. End Note.)

ۦ6. (U) With the Argentine 15 year patent protection clock starting at the time of application, U.S. research-based pharmaceutical companies operating here complain that INPI's extended patent processing backlog effectively curtails their period of exclusive patent protection. For example, all patents issued by INPI in 2006 had been applied for no later than in 2001 (and applications for pharmaceutical and other chemical products take longer than average to process). INPI faces the continuing challenge of maintaining adequate human resources, with trained examiners frequently hired away by the private sector and long in-house training periods required to bring newly hired examiners up to competence. However, for 2007, INPI's budget for patent examiners increased 58%, including funds for new examiners and incentives for examiners to complete more cases.

ۦ7. (U) The lack of patents for many products, coupled with Argentina's devaluation in 2002, which resulted in sharp price increases for imported products, increased incentives for local pharmaceutical companies to produce unlicensed copies of products that had been patented or for which patents were pending. The combination of these factors has had a negative effect on the Argentina-derived business of U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies. According to CAEMe, local pharmaceutical firms now have over 50 percent of the Argentine market and have reached almost 50 percent of the export market. (Note: not all local pharmaceutical firms are perceived as patent infringers. Some of the producers/exporters, according to CAEMe, deal only in products which are either licensed or have expired patent protection, and therefore are legitimate generics. End Note.) Argentina amended its patent law (Law 24,481) in December 2003 to implement an agreement between the USG and the GOA that had been signed in May 2002. That agreement came after approximately three years of consultations under the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism.

ۦ8. (SBU) The most important remaining unresolved pharmaceutical patent issue relates to the effective legal protection of confidential and proprietary data developed by pharmaceutical

SIPDIS companies to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of new medicines (i.e., "data protection"). U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies believe this to be a critical issue and Argentina and the U.S. have agreed to leave this issue within the WTO dispute settlement mechanism for future action. GoA policies have led research-based pharmaceutical companies to complain that Argentine health regulatory authorities (in particular ANMAT, the National Administration of Medicines, Food, and Medical Technology, the equivalent of the FDA) rely inappropriately on data developed by research-based companies and presented by companies which did not participate in such research to ANMAT to obtain marketing approval of unauthorized copies of innovative medicines. According to CAEMe, ANMAT interprets the public disclosure of partial data as an indicator that the data should be regarded as in the public domain. Article 39.3 of the TRIPS agreement requires WTO members to protect data submitted for pharmaceutical marketing approval "against unfair commercial use" and "disclosure." The GoA argument appears to be based upon the fact that infringing companies need only present publicly-available information, such as an existing FDA approval of a product, rather than confidential clinical studies results. This might seem to be protection against "disclosure" on the part of the GoA, and also avert the issue of "unfair." The question remains, however, as to what exactly constitutes unfair use of protected data. If an infringer can obtain permission to market their copied products doing what is legal, there appears to be no need to even attempt "unfair" methods.

ۦ9. (U) U.S. pharmaceutical companies also remain concerned about the legal implications of two specific clauses in the 2003 amendment. Specifically, it mandates an expert opinion, and requires consideration of the economic impact of an injunction on both parties to determine whether or not goods alleged to violate the patent law should be seized. When the amendment was passed into law, research-based pharmaceutical companies feared that those clauses could preclude the granting of preliminary injunctive relief and limit the success they have achieved in protecting their products through the use of preliminary injunctions.

ۦ10. (SBU) Those fears have been realized. In 2005, Eli Lilly discovered several Argentine competitors selling copies of its lead oncological drug, and sought injunctions to prevent those sales. An injunction against one infringer was issued after an 18 month judicial process, but was later revoked when the infringer presented what it claimed was an alternate process to produce the medication (the patent is based on the process, not the molecule), without evidence that the process was in use, or that it even worked. For another infringer, the application for an injunction was rejected by a judge convinced by a local expert hired by the defense, who claimed that the copycat drug did not violate the U.S. pharmaceutical company's patent. Of the three known infringers of Eli Lilly's medication, two had already signed agreements in court not to produce copies, and proceeded to violate those agreements. In another instance, Merck Sharp and Dohme went to court in 2005 to remove five copies of one of its joint-venture drugs from the Argentine market. In a promising ruling, the judge issued injunctions ordering the copies off the market. More than 18 months after the decision, however, those injunctions have yet to be enforced - despite the fact that the judge in the case ruled the legal basis for the copy drug's approval unconstitutional, as well as in violation of TRIPS Article 39.3. (Note: the injunction ordered ANMAT to rescind marketing approval of the copied product, which ANMAT has not yet done. According to CAEMe, the only further legal recourse available to Merck would be to demand the arrest of those responsible for the GoA's failure to comply with the court order- the Director of ANMAT and/or the Minister of Health. Merck is unwilling to pursue this course of action. End Note.)

ۦ11. (SBU) A frequent complaint of U.S. pharmaceutical companies is that there remains in Argentina no regulatory linkage between INPI and ANMAT. While such linkage is not explicitly required by TRIPS, its absence in Argentina allows ANMAT to grant local pharmaceutical producers authorization to manufacture and sell products that have already been patented or for which a patent has been requested. The Embassy and multinational pharmaceutical companies have urged the GOA to establish a linkage between ANMAT and INPI that would prevent ANMAT from continuing to authorize local pharmaceuticals to produce products for which an INPI patent has been granted or is pending. There were hints during 2005 of the beginnings of a cooperative relationship between INPI and ANMAT, but the Embassy has no evidence that such cooperation has developed. (Note: the head of INPI told Econoff in late 2006 that INPI and ANMAT were in close communication; the head of ANMAT told Econoff that there is no communication at all between the agencies. The head of INPI also told Econoff that ANMAT's decisions were constrained by applicable laws - the most relevant of which doesn't just allow but requires marketing approval of drugs already approved in certain other countries, including the U.S., and makes no mention of patents - and that the proper authority to make decisions over potentially conflicting patents was the court system, not ANMAT. End Note.) U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies must incur the legal costs of obtaining injunctions to stop the production and sale of products produced by local pharmaceutical companies for which the research-based companies have INPI patents.

ۦ12. (U) Law 25,649 adopted in 2002 requires medical doctors to use a drug's generic name in all prescriptions. Doctors may also include a trademarked version of a drug (and no more than one) in their prescriptions, but pharmacists may still offer a substitute. If a medical doctor does not want a substitute provided, the reason must be indicated on the prescription. U.S. and other research-based pharmaceutical companies operating in Argentina believe this law diverts sales from innovative medicines to TRIPS-infringing copy products. Some of these firms argue that true generics do not exist in Argentina because copy products are not required to demonstrate their bioequivalence or bioavailability with original products, meaning local producers can sell drug copies that lack quality and safety assurances. ۦ13. (U) Argentina has yet to become a contracting state to the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty. The WIPO treaty's mutual patent recognition provisions among 135 Contracting Parties would eliminate much of INPI's current patent application backlog.

---------- Copyrights ----------

ۦ14. (U) The incidence of Argentine copyright piracy via "traditional" CD and DVD copying does not appear to have declined in Argentina, while the frequency of illegal electronic downloads has expanded in line with the penetration of broadband access and the copying of copyrighted books and documents has acquired some domestic legal sanction. On the positive side, the Argentine Customs Service made some large seizures of blank and pirated optical disks, and local police raids netted more pirated disks in 2006 than in 2005.

ۦ15. (SBU) Optical Media Piracy: Problems in this area include the widespread and open sale of pirated copies of CDs and DVDs, and increasing number of businesses offering home delivery (often coordinated entirely online) of pirated artistic content. Argentina's copyright regime, largely based on the 1933 Copyright Act (as amended), provides generally good nominal protection. However, the lack of any real enforcement bite (in current practice, pirates will only face jail time if their involvement can also be defined as organized crime), coupled with the 2002 devaluation-linked disincentive to purchase legitimate - but now more expensive - imported products, has spurred piracy. A survey sponsored by the Local American Chamber of Commerce in 2006 showed that, while more than half the population believes that piracy precludes job creation and facilitates tax evasion, two thirds of Argentines have knowingly bought pirated products. A local attorney specializing in copyright issues told Econoff that, while the Argentine legal system does not function at a first-world level, it is "not bad for the region." The legal system will generally respond when needed to seize counterfeit media, the attorney said, but the existence of a personal relationship with relevant authorities is helpful. Still, his client (an IP content trade association) worked with police to effect over 200 raids in 2006 that seized over 240,000 pirated discs and videotapes (about 4% of the estimated piracy market), up from roughly 100,000 in 2005.

ۦ16. (SBU) In addition to local police actions, there were also notable seizures of materials by the Argentine Customs Service. In August 2006, they seized a million blank discs which had been misclassified by the importer. The importer was also determined to have brought in similar shipments previously. A shipment of over 500,000 pirated CDs and DVDs was seized in late 2006 in the tri-border area (near Brazil and Paraguay) and destroyed. In early 2007, another shipment of blank discs was seized, this one with over three million discs, which represents approximately half the pirated discs sold in Argentina each year. (Note: Argentine customs authorities told Econoff that the majority of the discs, once protected materials had been copied on them, would likely have been sold in Brazil, so the dent in the Argentine piracy market will likely be less. End Note.)

ۦ17. (U) Illegal Downloads: Electronic delivery of copyright infringing materials is on the rise. CAPIF (the Argentine Chamber of Phonograph and Videograph Producers) estimates that there were over 600 million illegal song downloads in Argentina in 2006, a nearly 50% increase from 2004. This growth is roughly in line with the increase in broadband internet access, which reached 13 million lines by the end of 2006. CAPIF leaders say that the legal downloads in Argentina total less than 1% of the illegal ones.

ۦ18. (U) Use/Procurement of Government Software: The GOA has yet to fully comply with its 1999 agreement with the local software industry to legalize unlicensed software used in offices of the national government, and many GoA offices continue to use pirated software. GoA sources estimated in 2005 that over 90 percent of GoA agencies employing licensed software are using it illegally. GOA legislation to require use of open source software was introduced in 2001 but never passed.

ۦ19. (U) Legal Sanction of Photocopying: A new area of concern in the copyright area is based on a 2006 Appeals Court ruling that students at the primary Argentine public university could legally make copies of copyrighted works (i.e., textbooks). The ruling, which argued that this practice "facilitated the access of study materials to all," extended to those who made copies and sold them to the students.

ۦ20. (U) Artist's Legal Rights: Draft legislation titled the "Law of the Musical Performer," introduced in late 2005 but yet to be formally considered by congressional committees, created some controversy when rumors surfaced that it would receive expedited treatment in late 2006. One potential drawback of the draft (as it relates to intellectual property protection) would be its restriction of copyright-holders' "right of making available" via digital media. It would also delegate that right exclusively to a performers' group, though this could violate Argentina's obligations under the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT) to provide that right to producers as well. CAPIF is preparing a new bill which would codify rights for both producers and performers and expects this alternative draft legislation to be submitted for congressional review in the first half of 2007.

ۦ21. (U) Proposed Augmentation of Copyright Penalties: Motion picture and recording industry representatives inform Post that they plan to propose to congress a modification of the criminal code in 2007 that would increase currently nominal criminal penalties and fines for copyright violations. It would also facilitate the destruction of pirated goods by providing discretion to the rights holder over disposition of infringing goods as well as make updates the law to address modern technologies.

---------- Trademarks ----------

ۦ22. (SBU) According to a former head of INPI who continues to work in the IPR field, Argentina's 1982-era trademark law (Law 22,362) does meet international standards, but amendments to the Penal Code limiting penalties to probation periods have rendered it less effective, and a schedule of nominal fines have not proven significant deterrents to falsification. On a positive note, the process of renewing trademarks is another area where INPI's increasing efficiency has become evident. Whereas an applicant for renewal had to wait five months only a few years ago, the process is now completed in less than two months. Raids by local police on flea markets where counterfeit merchandise is openly sold have not been frequent or widespread enough to lessen the availability of pirated goods. Representatives of industries frequently targeted by counterfeiters claim that over forty large, well-established markets exist in Buenos Aires alone that are almost completely dedicated to the sale of counterfeit goods (in addition to innumerable smaller points of sale throughout the country). The largest of these markets, which is reputed to be the largest in South America, is called "La Salada." According to reports, 6,000 people work there, and 20,000 customers visit and make USD 9 million in purchases daily. (Note: The EU highlighted this market in its October 2006 301-equivalent report, which received considerable press attention in Argentina. End Note.) "La Salada" has a dangerous reputation, and post IPR contacts tell us that police conduct no enforcement operations there due to fear of organized crime elements which allegedly operate within the market. ۦ23. (SBU) Amendments to Existing Legislation: Proposed legislation to modernize Argentina's trademark law died in committee in 2005. That draft law, introduced in August 2004, contained several measures that would have strengthened Argentina's anti-trademark piracy regime. Specifically, the draft law would have: involved Argentina's tax agency (AFIP) in trademark piracy (counterfeit merchandise) investigations; expanded the authority of Argentina's Financial Investigations Unit (UIF) to include trademark piracy among the crimes that entity is able to investigate; and increased penalties for those convicted of trademark piracy (eliminating community service as a possible sentence). An attorney who helped draft the text blamed the failure of the bill on the lethargy of local Argentine business chambers, which he said did not actively support the effort. The bill was, in fact, viewed negatively by several members of the American Chamber of Commerce's (AmCham) Intellectual Property Committee, some of whom preferred that more discretion be granted to the trademark holder to determine the degree of the penalty and the disposition of infringing goods. While the legislation has not been re-introduced, the same congressman who originally submitted the draft bill in 2004 proposed in September 2006 the creation of a public attorney's office dedicated specifically to trademark crimes. The proposal has not moved forward. Meanwhile, the AmCham committee created a new draft trademark law, using the 2004 proposal as a base, which has not yet been introduced in Congress. (Note: An AmCham leader indicated that it will likely not be introduced unless it can gain support from leading domestic business chambers. End Note.)

Enforcement actions

ۦ24. (U) Law 25986, which took effect in January 2005, prohibits the import or export of merchandise which violates international property rights. However, regulations to implement this law have yet to be issued two years later. In October 2006, AFIP (the Federal Administration of Public Revenue, an IRS-equivalent and with authority over Argentina's Customs agency) issued a decree which allows Customs to detain potential trademark violating merchandise until the holder of the locally registered trademark authenticates the shipment, and seize it if the holder does not. However, while regulation of the law would also allow detention and seizure of merchandise which violates copyright and patent norms (such as copied pharmaceutical products), the decree only applies to trademarks.

ۦ25. (U) There were some notable IPR-related prosecutions in 2006. Two music pirates (who operated in the "La Salada" market) received two-year prison sentences, albeit three years after their initial arrest. In Rosario, Argentina's third largest city, four people were arrested for running a large "home delivery" operation via internet sites. The head of that organization has been charged under organized crime laws, as well as tax evasion and money laundering statutes. A six-country effort initiated by the international recording industry had a limited impact in Argentina, as a judge's ruling in favor of internet cafes (the focus of the operation) prevented nearly all planned raids in the country. Out of 213 cafes raided overall, only 12 were in Argentina.

--------------------- GMO Rights Protection ---------------------

ۦ26. (SBU) Argentine farmers have the legal right to replant - although not to sell - seed generated from a harvest originating from registered seeds without paying additional royalties. However, Argentine farmers have long sold registered seeds without payment of required royalties, a practice which continued in 2006. This is a widespread problem with soybean seed, and it underlies Monsanto's recent court actions in Europe, which have resulted in ships carrying Argentine soy being stopped and the cargo seized. Monsanto's actions are aimed at collecting royalties that Argentine farmers are not paying via legal challenges in countries in which Monsanto has patent protection for the Roundup Ready soybean technology. According to the president of an Argentine seed producer association (in which Monsanto participates), 65-70% of all soy grown in Argentina is produced from Rounup Ready seeds for which no royalties have been paid. Farm associations and industry representatives generally agree that Argentina must elaborate and enact a new seed law that better protects intellectual property, but negotiations toward that end have not prospered. The sale of registered seed from Argentina to neighboring countries, also without payment of royalties, has led to significant planting of unregistered biotech soybeans in Brazil and Paraguay. Argentina is a party to the 1978 Act of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), but has not signed the 1991 UPOV convention revision. Monsanto reps have told post that they do not intend to introduce the next generation of Roundup Ready until a GoA-sanctioned agreement with local growers is signed which will ensure that Monsanto receives proper royalty payments. Ambassador, Embassy officers and visiting Congressmen have raised the Monsanto problem regularly in recent months, but without achieving progress.

----------------------- Embassy IPR Initiatives -----------------------

ۦ27. (SBU) Beyond significant regulatory and enforcement deficiencies detailed above, reluctance by the various GoA enforcement entities to cooperate with each other is a problem that has long contributed to ineffective anti-piracy action in Argentina. The Embassy therefore encourages IPR training that brings together representatives from the full range of GOA institutions involved in anti-piracy efforts. The trust and familiarity resulting from such cooperation would help foster GoA inter-agency teamwork of the sort necessary to effectively combat piracy. One such training opportunity is tentatively scheduled for 2007: With the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice, Post hopes to bring GoA and Argentine private sector officials together to explore and develop innovative IPR enforcement methodologies consistent with Argentina's legal and regulatory framework. A broader Post IPR 2007 strategic plan will be detailed septel.

-------------------------- Comment and Recommendation --------------------------

ۦ28. (SBU) Argentina has been on the Special 301 Priority Watch List since 1996, and few meaningful improvements were made in 2006 to merit an upgrade in this designation. There was no movement on the key issue of pharmaceutical patent data protection that appears to violate TRIPS Article 39.3. While INPI continues to function more efficiently and has won additional budget resources this year, procedural improvements to date have only made minor inroads into a patent application backlog that significantly curtails the periods of patent protection. Patents that do get issued carry a questionable legal weight, as evidenced by ongoing problems with copied products, the lack of legal resolution of some infringement cases, and variable enforcement of those infringement cases where injunctions have been obtained. The volume of copyright and trademark violations has not diminished; Argentina's legislature and enforcement arms have not undertaken measures necessary to discourage new violations; and the Argentine judiciary remains an uncertain ally in the fight to protect intellectual property. While the decree allowing trademark enforcement by Customs, industry proposed legislation to increase currently nominal criminal penalties and fines for copyright violations, and highly publicized 2006 seizures of blank and pirated discs are positive signs, improvements in Argentina's IPR regime this year weren't particularly significant. The Embassy therefore recommends that Argentina remain on the Special 301 Priority Watch List for 2007. End Comment.

ۦ22. To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified website at: http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wh/buenosaires

WAYNE







Clearly this is relevant not just to any one aspect of life. What it shows is the US fighting for assimilation in Argentina, in order to benefit American businesses at the expense of Argentina. Who does the GOA represent? Argentinians oughtn't allow this to happen, but they are probably indoctrinated (Westernised) and programmed to think it's the right thing to do.

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