The global protection of intellectual property: in whose interests?

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The global protection of intellectual property: in whose interests?

  1. 1. Global governance of intellectual property – in whose interests? Dr Ian Brown, UCL
  2. 2. Geneva Declaration on the Future of WIPO <ul><li>“ Humanity faces a global crisis in the governance of knowledge, technology and culture. The crisis is manifest in many ways: </li></ul><ul><li>Without access to essential medicines, millions suffer and die; </li></ul><ul><li>Morally repugnant inequality of access to education, knowledge and technology undermines development and social cohesion… </li></ul><ul><li>Concentrated ownership and control of knowledge, technology, biological resources and culture harm development, diversity and democratic institutions; </li></ul><ul><li>Technological measures designed to enforce intellectual property rights in digital environments threaten core exceptions in copyright laws for disabled persons, libraries, educators, authors and consumers, and undermine privacy and freedom…” </li></ul>
  3. 3. World Intellectual Property Organisation <ul><li>Dates back to Paris Convention on Industrial Property of 1883 </li></ul><ul><li>Administers patent, trademark, design, copyright, plant variety, integrated circuit, appellation, signals & Olympic symbol treaties </li></ul><ul><li>Part of UN system since 1974: &quot;to accelerate economic, social and cultural development.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>181 members with equal votes </li></ul><ul><li>“ Internet treaties” signed 1996 (Copyright Treaty, Performances and Phonograms Treaty) </li></ul>
  4. 4. WCT/WPPT problems <ul><li>“ I think a lot of people didn't realize that it would have this potential chilling effect on vulnerability research.” –Richard Clarke </li></ul><ul><li>Use to enforce accessory controls (Lexmark, Aibo, Playstation) </li></ul><ul><li>Rewriting the copyright bargain </li></ul>
  5. 5. Potential copyright problems <ul><li>Electronic book burning </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced software diversity – security and competition risks </li></ul><ul><li>Personal and national sovereignty </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy </li></ul>
  6. 6. A trade-based approach <ul><li>“ Our experience with WIPO was the last straw in our attempt to operate by persuasion” – Pfizer General Counsel </li></ul><ul><li>US multilateral, bilateral and unilateral negotiation </li></ul><ul><li>“ Less than 50 individuals” responsible for a new US approach – US trade negotiator </li></ul>
  7. 7. World Trade Organisation <ul><li>Created out of Uruguay GATT round 1986—1994 </li></ul><ul><li>TRIPS: Annex 1C of the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO </li></ul><ul><li>Heavy pressure from US and later the EU, Japan and Canada (the “quad”) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) <ul><li>Minimum patent term of 20 years, copyright term 50 years </li></ul><ul><li>Greater coverage of states </li></ul><ul><li>Severely limits compulsory licences </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic enforcement standards </li></ul><ul><li>International enforcement through trade sanctions </li></ul>
  9. 9. Corporate patent objectives <ul><li>“ Much of the tedious detail of patent law and administration becomes readily understandable when it is read in the light of three private purposes: </li></ul><ul><li>To obtain monopoly control of any knowledge in any field that is likely to prove important to commerce in some way; </li></ul><ul><li>To enable the formation of cartels; </li></ul><ul><li>To reduce the costs to industry of obtaining patents.” –Peter Drahos </li></ul>
  10. 10. Access to essential medicines <ul><li>“ Effective medicines that dramatically increase the life expectancy of people living with AIDS became available in Europe and North America a decade ago. Today in the developing world 40 million people are infected with HIV. 6 million people need access to these same medicines NOW. Only 400,000 do. </li></ul><ul><li>WIPO seems to embrace a culture of IP without sufficient regard for the social and health consequences… The IP system is a social policy tool that should benefit society as a whole. IP is a means to an end, not an end in itself. ” – Medicins San Frontieres </li></ul>
  11. 11. WTO “Development round” <ul><li>Current round of trade negotiations began in Doha during 2001, with a stated “development focus” </li></ul><ul><li>Agreement on public health emergency in Africa allows import of generic HIV, tuberculosis and malaria medication under compulsory patent licences </li></ul>
  12. 12. Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health <ul><li>“ the Agreement can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO members' right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Each member has the right to grant compulsory licences and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licences are granted.” </li></ul>
  13. 13. Integrating intellectual property rights and development policy <ul><li>Final report of UK Commission on Intellectual Property Rights (2002): </li></ul><ul><li>“ The intellectual property rights system, as a whole is less advantageous for developing than for developed countries in many areas of importance to development, such as health, agriculture, education and information technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>The system increases the costs of access to many products and technologies that developing countries thus making poverty reduction more difficult. </li></ul><ul><li>The extension of IP rights globally will diminish the degree of competition worldwide for many products and services leading to increased prices.” </li></ul>
  14. 14. Proposal for the Establishment of a Development Agenda for WIPO <ul><li>The Governments of Brazil and Argentina: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Despite the important scientific and technological advances and promises of the 20th and early 21st centuries, in many areas a significant “knowledge gap” as well as a “digital divide” continue to separate the wealthy nations from the poor.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Development concerns should be fully incorporated into all WIPO activities. WIPO’s role, therefore, is not to be limited to the promotion of intellectual property protection.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ WIPO should consider undertaking activities with a view to exploring the promise held by open collaborative projects to develop public goods, as exemplified by the Human Genome Project and Open Source Software.” </li></ul><ul><li>Approved by WIPO General Assembly 4/10/04 </li></ul>
  15. 15. Conclusions <ul><li>IP law swung heavily towards the interests of right holders during the 1980s and 1990s </li></ul><ul><li>Doha declaration and WIPO Development Agenda are moving IP back towards balance </li></ul><ul><li>You need to encourage these processes in your own countries! </li></ul>

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