Ahmed Abel Latif

Thursday 25 August 2011

The TRIPS Agreement marked an unprecedented expansion in the scope and reach of international IP making it impact a wide range of objectives in other public policy areas such as public health, access to knowledge and food security. The past decade has also witnessed a number of initiatives and efforts, particularly at the multilateral level, to integrate a development and public interest dimension in international IP law. The Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health (2001) – whose tenth anniversary is coming up- and the WIPO Development Agenda represent important milestones in this context.

Against this background, the session will take stock of recent developments and look into future challenges pertaining to advancing a ‘positive agenda’ in international IP law, and this taking into account the following questions:

  • What challenges does the advancement of a ‘public interest’ agenda face in international IP law in contrast with domestic law?
  • What are the objectives of a positive ‘public interest’ agenda in international IP law? Is it just ‘change’? Is it ‘reform’ of international IP law? Is it to ‘clarify’ the relationship between international IP law with other policy areas such as health, environment and human rights? Is it to act as an ‘enabler’ for domestic IP reform to achieve tangible outcomes on the ground?
  • How has the discourse evolved on the ‘positive agenda’ in international IP law and should evolve?
  • Terms such as development, balance, flexibilities, access to knowledge have flourished and spread in the international IP discourse but is there agreement on how to put them in practice?
  • What is the state of play of ideas, proposals and coalitions to advance a positive ‘public interest’ agenda in international IP law in different forums?
  • What are the lessons to be drawn from ‘reform’ efforts in the past decade?
  • Can there be ‘reform’ of international IP law without genuine reform of international IP institutions overseeing this body of law (WIPO/WTO)? Including technical assistance?
  • How do IP provisions in FTAs and plurilateral agreements (ACTA) impact on ‘reform’ efforts in international IP law?
  • How does the increasing reliance on practical measures (stakeholder’s platforms, and particularly in enforcement such as seizures of websites etc) interplay with norm setting?

Panelists will address developments in a wide range of issues relating to public health and access to medicines; copyright limitations, exceptions and access to knowledge; IPRs enforcement (graduated response and ISP liability) and broader institutional issues and challenges (WIPO Development Agenda etc).