Diverse harmonization: Indian example
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Chapter Extract: The Uruguay trade negotiations were distinguished in that for the first time harmonized laws were imposed as an effective solution to overcome the issue of variant or rather, diverse treatment in important areas of trade such as intellectual property (hereinafter, IP) protection.At the time of the negotiations, developing countries expressed a general dissatisfaction especially with the IP regime that was touted under the Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights,but were particularly concerned with the ability of harmonized patent laws to successfully function within the constraints and conditions prevailing in nations posited at different spectrums of the development curve.Viewed from a traditional international law lens, the trade regime represents a loss or, arguably, a compromise of sovereignty. Contemporary scholars term it as the loss of the ability to represent diverse national interests in national legislation to cater to local realities and objectives.Basically, the trade regime’s zeal to address the claim of trade distortions resulted in tailored solutions that effectively curtailed sovereign creativity in addressing issues and, ironically also, in questions relating to IP!In reality, the establishment of harmonized solutions highlighted gaping questions that manifested in the form of national developmental issues such as public health or food security. Meanwhile, from an era of harmonization, diversity came back into fashion. With that, countries that were considered as outliers for professing diversity of IP laws, such as India, were back in the limelight for daring to be different in the era of harmonization.Set against the above background, this chapter demonstrates how legislative diversity can be achieved within the constraints imposed by harmonization requirements by taking India as an example. To that end, the discussions are confined to patenting in the area of life sciences to demonstrate the importance of diverse solutions to achieve developmental objectives. Thus, the narrative below sets the stage to demonstrate why the trade regime is congested from lack of diverse solutions and how that affects development.
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Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and the Life Sciences: Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property Series