Development Agendas in a Changing World

 

Abstract
Ahmed Abdel Latif

The international intellectual property (IP) system has witnessed important changes in the past decade. While an IP maximalist agenda continues to push for the strengthening of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement (as reflected in initiatives such as ACTA), the global IP conversation has also evolved to acknowledge to a certain extent development and public interest concerns and the limits of a one size fits all approach to IP protection. The importance of achieving ‘balanced’ IP norms which are supportive of public policy objectives in areas such as access to medicines and access to knowledge is also largely recognised. The WIPO Development Agenda is an important milestone in these discussing.

Yet since the original WIPO Development Agenda initiative was launched in 2004 and 45 WIPO DA recommendations adopted in 2007, important changes have occurred in the global landscape:

  • At the level of discourse, the promotion of innovation has become a top priority on the national and international agenda.
  • Technological progress and innovation continue to be a catalyst of global social, economic and political change at an unprecedented pace. Social networks are one example.[1]
  • At WIPO, development considerations seem more present in the deliberations of the organizations, yet the translation of the WIPO DA recommendations into tangible changes to WIPO’s approach to promoting IP still faces many challenges.
  • At the international level, climate change has emerged as a pressing global challenge. In this context, there has been a polarized debate about the role of IPRs in the transfer and diffusion of clean energy technologies, particularly to developing countries.

Against this background, the session will seek to address the following issues:

  1. What are the opportunities and challenges raised by the above mentioned changes in terms of advancing ‘development oriented IP agendas’ at the global/national level?
  2. What are the elements of a development perspective on the promotion of innovation – including in its IP dimension – in global deliberations and in developing countries?
  3. What actions, proposals, research are needed to boost the implementation of the WIPO Development Agenda so it translates to concrete changes into WIPO’s approach to promoting IP?
  4. How can we ensure that the development dimension is taken into account in global copyright and patent reform efforts and initiatives?
  5. What tools and options are needed to move ‘flexibilities’, ‘balance’ ‘development’ from rhetoric to actionable deliverables.
  6. Can there be truly global IP reform without institutional and governance reform of IP institutions?

  • [1] Facebook was created in 2004, the same year the Development Agenda was launched, and has reached now 750 million users.

 

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