Experts urge reform of international patent system at eve of WIPO assembly

IPO's mandate, and technical cooperation. During the two days of the Maastricht Event discussions explored evidences from economics of innovation and different policy frameworks, borrowing from cases of specific technological areas in order to address the main points presented within the Development Agenda proposal.

Six papers were prepared to support the debates, covering the following topics:

  • the structuring and the functioning of IP systems;
  • IPRs and competition policies;
  • IPRs and knowledge-intensive sectors pharmaceutical, biotechnological, and IT
  • alternatives for accessing knowledge; and
  • IPRs, technology, and the challenges of development.

    The main issues that emerged from the Seminar can be summarized as follows:

    1. IP rights are economic rights. They are granted not as an end in themselves, but only as a means to specific goals: the promotion of creativity and innovation, culture and science. However, IPRs can have a negative effect not only on economic and social welfare, but also on innovation itself.

    2. Attribution of IPRs should be allowed only insofar as it does not undermine the basic principle of the open science system. Free and universal access to scientific knowledge is at the same time a fundamental engine of innovation and a constitutive principle of democracy.

    3. The task of constructing better and more balanced IPR regimes which facilitate their role as instruments of innovation incentives is an issue for both developing and developed countries;

    4. Any extension of IPRs, whether in terms of subject matter, length, type or jurisdiction of protection must be based on clear evidence of their net benefits.

    5. The global framework for intellectual property laws must permit nations to experiment with different approaches. Excessive harmonization should be avoided, in order to protect the space for innovation in the mechanis

  • Contact: Wangu Mwangi
    United Nations University

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