[Ahmed Abdel-Latif, Dick Kawooya, and Chidi Oguamanam, Bridges Africa, Link] Summary: An African ministerial meeting, organised by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO), to be held in Senegal next November 3-5 should embrace a balanced and development-oriented approach to intellectual property. Such an approach ought to take into account the needs, priorities and socio-economic circumstances of African countries as well as the most recent empirical evidence on the dynamics of intellectual property and innovation on the continent.
The global innovation and intellectual property landscape is witnessing rapid and far reaching changes. This dialogue is the first in a series of multi-stakeholder dialogues aimed reflecting on these changes and their possible implications for international cooperation. Convened by ICTSD, the dialogue will examine the implementation of the 2007 WIPO Development Agenda recommendations, a decade after the original Development Agenda proposal launched.
In this context, the dialogue will look at the collective achievements and future challenges toward the establishment of a balanced and development–oriented intellectual property system, which effectively promotes innovation while supporting public policy objectives.
Last January, Egypt and Tunisia enacted new constitutions in the context of the political changes they have been witnessing since the 2011 revolutions that overthrew the Mubarak and Ben Ali regimes. While most public attention has focused on how these constitutions have addressed hotly debated issues such as the structure of government, the role of religion and fundamental freedoms, there has been relatively less attention to how they have dealt with economic and social issues. In this regard, it is noteworthy that the two constitutions contain clauses which give high priority to building a knowledge economy and which provide for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs), at the constitutional level, for the first time in the history of these countries.
The cross regional statement below (Towards a Human Rights Approach to Intellectual Property) was delivered today – 14th March 2014 – by Egypt, on behalf of 90 countries, at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. It states that: “International relevant organizations in the field of intellectual property should take fully into account the existing State obligations under international human rights instruments in conducting their activities, and to perform regular human rights impact assessments of intellectual property systems, including on access to medicines and intellectual property.”
[Ahmed Abdel Latif and Pedro Roffe, ICTSD; IP-Watch (CC-BY-NC-ND)]
To what extent can global intellectual property rules address in an effective manner the needs of the most vulnerable members of society? This is the key question facing member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as they prepare to meet next week for a diplomatic conference, in Marrakesh, that might result in the adoption of a treaty to facilitate access to copyrighted works by visually impaired persons and persons with print disabilities.
[Cross posted from Inside Views: IP-Watch, (CC-BY-NC-ND)]Much – if not everything – has been said about the health innovation and access to medicines impact of the recent decision of the Indian Supreme Court (SC) in the Novartis case. But there are broader implications. The ruling is also a revealing tale about the changing role of developing countries in the global intellectual property landscape and the growing influence of the judiciary in these countries in the implementation of international intellectual property rules.
In 2006 an Extraordinary Conference of the African Ministers of Council on Science and Technology meeting in Cairo mooted the idea of establishing a Pan-African Intellectual Property Organization (PAIPO). Since then, nothing much has been publicly discussed about the nature and scope of this organization until the ‘final’ draft for PAIPO statute surfaced recently for adoption by the 5th African Union Ministerial Conference on Science & Technology (AMCOST V) meeting Nov 12 – 16 2012 in Congo (Brazzaville).
The draft statute as it currently stands grants PAIPO significant powers in regulating IP in Africa. However, it also advances a narrow view of IP as an “end in itself” which does not take on board many of the critical public policy objectives in the areas of public health and access to knowledge that African countries have played a key role in pushing forward at the international level.