Tonga’s WTO accession has TRIPS+ linkage
Sanya Reid Smith
Thu Dec 15 2005
Tonga acceded to the WTO yesterday and one of the conditions of it being
allowed to join the WTO was to have TRIPS+ linkage of patent status and data
exclusivity. That means no generics can be approved during the patent term,
effectively preventing compulsory licensing and government use orders, as
well as turning the drug regulatory authority into patent police in the way
that the Philippines has recently emphatically refused to do.
Excerpt from text of WTO accession agreement :
"Prior to issuance of marketing approval of any pharmaceutical and agricultural chemicals products, the relevant Ministries in Tonga would determine the existence of a patent covering a product for which an application for marketing approval had been filed by a party other than the patentee, and must not approve such application for marketing approval until the date of the expiration of such patent."
Infringements of intellectual property rights are also punishable by a fine
of TOP 5,000 and/or 5 years imprisonment pursuant to s43(4) of the
Industrial Property Act 1994.