Exceptions to patent rights must meet three conditions. Firstly, they must be limited, even where their scope, term or other aspects are not specified. Secondly, they must not unreasonably conflict with the normal exploitation of a patent. Thirdly, they must not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the patent owner. These three conditions have to be applied, however, taking into account «the legitimate interests of third parties».
This text obviously calls for a case-by-case analysis of the exceptions that may be allowed. Based on the present status of comparative patent law, the following exceptions may be deemed legitimate pursuant to Article 30:
a) import of a product that has been put on sale by the owner of the patent or with his consent or in a country where patent protection does not exist;
b) acts done privately and on a non-commercial scale or for a non-commercial purpose;
c) use of the invention for research and experimentation or for teaching purposes;
d) preparation of drugs for individual cases according to a prescription;
e) granting of compulsory licences (see section below);
f) use of the invention by a third party who started or carried out serious preparations before the application for the patent (or its publication);
g) experiments on inventions carried out to improve them, to compare them with another technology, or in order to obtain health approval before marketing a drug, «inter alia».
With regard to the latter, the United States Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act permits the carrying out of tests to establish the bio-equivalence of generic products before the relevant patent expires. Its purpose is to help producers of generic drugs to market their products as soon as the patent expires.
Public interest, or more explicitly public health, may be deemed to be another legitimate reason for suspending exclusive rights in accordance with the «principles» laid down in Article 8 of the Agreement17.
17 Exceptions of this nature have been allowed in Argentina's patent law, approved by the Senate at the end of 1994.