US rewards Israel for changes on drug patents

USTR is moving Israel from its “priority watch list” of intellectual property violators to a lesser “watch list,” a prelude from taking Israel off the list altogether.

The move comes after the Israeli government introduced legislation meant to strengthen the rights of brand name drug makers against generics. The laws will grant more protection for test data, ease the ability for companies to extend patents after drugs are approved for marketing, and will require greater publication of patents.

 “Israel’s action reflects the commitment of both the United States and Israel to providing transparent, efficient and effective patent systems for innovative and generic medicine producers,” Kirk said.

The three laws were introduced in the Knesset per an agreement inked in 2010 by the Obama administration.

The intellectual property watch lists carry no direct trade sanction penalties but do “name and shame” the countries targeted. Inclusion on the higher tier could signal that the U.S. is preparing a World Trade Organization case, which eventually could lead to retaliation.