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Volume 28, Issue 1 (2013)

Author: J. Author: Document prepared by Mr. WIPO moves toward "world" patent system , Author: WIPO publications. Author: Chile.

WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION

General texts on intellectual property rights. Intellectual property, trade and competition. Intellectual property and folklore, music and entertainment. Intellectual property and public education. Intellectual property and information and communication technologies.

Intellectual property and the protection of biodiversity. Intellectual property and agriculture, food and nutrition. Intellectual property and access to medicines in developing countries. Intellectual property and foreign direct investment.

WIPO Development Agenda Needs More Promotion, Country Involvement, Experts Say

Human rights aspects of intellectual property. Intellectual property and technology transfer: help or hindrance? But the names alone did not communicate very much to the potential customer. With some awareness of how to create and use trademarks, these women could more effectively build their distinctive brands and grow their businesses. In various countries, including the United States, many small businesses are run by women. Many of these women are not aware of how intellectual property IP laws can help them gain strategic advantages in the marketplace. They may not, for example, develop their brand by using trademarks to distinguish their businesses from those of competitors.

They may also be unaware that their innovations and creative works may be protected by copyrights or patents. IP rights can help these female entrepreneurs to increase economic opportunities and to promote their human development. Intellectual property is relevant to human development in the United States and other industrialized countries.


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However, the potential for IP law to promote human development in developing countries is even greater. This is because the use of IP rights is much more limited in those nations. While human development is not a precise term, the definition used here is the multifaceted one adopted by the United Nations. Importantly, these human development factors also align with the patent and copyright goals of promoting innovation and progress. Although intellectual property is not typically discussed as a tool for human development, IP laws can play a critical role in advancing or hindering human progress.

For instance, the connection between patent rights and access to medicines has been well studied. Patent rights provide an incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in the research and development that is required to produce medicines. A patent gives the patent owner the exclusive right to make, use, and sell the patented product and to prevent others from doing so. The year term of protection for the patent gives the pharmaceutical companies the market exclusivity that allows them to recover their investment. This is an example of IP rights promoting progress because society benefits from having medicines that promote health and save lives.

On the other hand, patent rights can create barriers to access to life-saving medicines. Patent rights can mean higher drug prices, because only the patent owner can make and distribute the patented medicine. Copyrights, trademarks, and geographical indications can also affect social, cultural, educational, and economic development.

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Patents and copyrights protect the various technologies that we have become accustomed to using. This can range from cell phone technologies to online educational tools or vehicle safety features. Copyright protects literary and artistic works, while trademarks are protected indications of source for goods and services that are used in commerce. For example, opportunities or barriers are created by copyrights and trademarks in relation to music, films, books, and branded clothing and other items. In addition, geographical indications protect regionally identifiable foods and other products.

Today, the increased power and capacity of some developing countries are clearly discernible, especially in their resistance to norms that do not reflect their interests. Large developing countries such as China, India and Brazil in particular have increased their ability and capacity to fight and limit the scope of TRIPS-plus rules, and even advance demands for flexibility that allow countries to choose the most appropriate public policies.

However, the power of action cannot determine the capacity to maintain a co-ordinated flexibilities agenda.


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  • This article discusses some South-South initiatives aimed at maintaining and strengthening IP flexibilities. To understand these initiatives, we have to look at the broader context and try to understand the risks posed by the US maximalist agenda and the need for the flexibilities agenda. To this end, the article consists of two main sections. In the first, I analyse the risks presented by the US maximalist agenda and its forum-shifting strategy to the multilateral IP regime.

    'Intellectual Property Rights and sustainable growth', Graham Dutfield

    Some concerns are more broadly focused on the impairment or distortion of some agendas and demands that have made some progress in multilateral forums. Analysts fear that agreements negotiated outside the multilateral institutions may eventually undermine the discussions at the WTO, WIPO, and other relevant multilateral institutions. In the second section, I deal specifically with South-South collaboration strategies in respect of IP. One important issue is to establish how these countries are dealing with the threat posed by the maximalist agenda, and advancing the flexibilities agenda instead.

    I first deal directly with the general resistance to the introduction of TRIPS-plus norms in multilateral institutions as well as preferential agreements that constrain the policy space of developing countries and detract from multilateralism. I also explore other forms of action and collaboration, including: i the formation of permanent cross-issue alliances such as BRICS or IBSA in order to form coherent positions on certain themes; ii coalitions for specific IP negotiations aimed at blocking other demands, or advancing the flexibilities agenda; and iii technical co-operation and the diffusion of policies and mechanisms that promote the construction of national IP systems.

    In turn, collaboration among developing countries is beset with significant difficulties.

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    In the specific case of IP negotiations, the situation is even more complex. The current US maximalist agenda is the result of a process that began in the early s. At that point, the USA began to campaign for the strengthening and harmonisation of international IP rules by exerting unilateral pressure on some trading partners, but especially by using a forum-shifting strategy that led to the insertion of a specific IP agreement into the multilateral trade regime during the GATT Uruguay Round This resulted in the harmonisation of IP norms and its linkage to the logic of production and commerce, submitting a broad array of public policies to this trade-related dimension Muzaka ; Musungu This severely constrained the policy space of developing countries to devise their own IP systems.

    However, TRIPS preserves certain flexibilities, allowing a minimum freedom for implementing its norms, and provides some leeway for adapting national IP protection systems to specific national demands. Nonetheless, the period immediately after TRIPS was marked not only by attempts to strengthen standards of protection, but also by the emergence of greater assertiveness by some developing countries.

    Different interpretations of the role of IP in development have given rise to new political disputes. These disputes and conflicts have fuelled the debates about inconsistencies in the IP rules, and the need for greater balance between private rights and access to knowledge. However, it has also led to the strengthening of the maximalist agenda adopted by the USA, prompting it to pursue an aggressive forum-shifting strategy, following emerging difficulties in the WTO TRIPS Council, to advance its IP agenda in various other forums.

    It has done so in three ways. First, it has introduced demands in respect of IP in other multilateral institutions, including the WIPO horizontal forum-shifting. Second, it has inserted chapters and clauses dealing with IP into preferential trade agreements and bilateral investment agreements vertical forum-shifting Drahos ; Ruse-Khan ; Sell Third, it has attempted to reform national legislation to enforce IP nationally and globally.

    Despite the existence of two international organisations with expertise to deal with IP that already have their own complex and controversial agendas, the USA further diversified international forums for building new TRIPS-plus provisions.

    The Development Agenda: Rethinking the IP System | UCT IP Unit

    Despite their limited geographic impact, these agreements have undoubtedly been the most effective component of the maximalist agenda. More recently, the USA has paid greater attention to negotiating plurilateral agreements with like-minded partners. ACTA was meant to encompass commitments in three areas: i strengthening international co-operation; ii improving enforcement practices; and iii providing a strong legal framework for IP enforcement.

    It goes significantly further than the TRIPS minimum standards; strengthens the discretion of the authorities in civil enforcement, border measures, and criminal enforcement; and creates instruments for regulating IP rights in the digital environment Bitton ; Michael As pointed out by Flynn, the TPP is also a plurilateral agreement that.

    This strengthening of IP protection and enforcement procedures, and especially the way in which the agreement was negotiated, has worrisome implications, as Susan Sell has noted:. It sharply reduces policy space for developing countries to design appropriate policies for their public policy for innovation and economic development.

    Flynn equally ponders the impact of exporting unbalanced standards that differ from those in the USA. Internal US legislation maintains a minimal balance between the interests of users and owners, maintaining important rights such as fair use. However, in international negotiations, the USA has emphasised the interests of rights holders only Flynn In analysing international negotiations on IP, especially the US maximalist agenda and the role of South-South collaboration, it is important to take account of the broader international context for these negotiations, and to consider the structure of the international system and the configuration of forces among the main actors involved in its continuous adjustment.