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THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA AT WIPO


Most of you may be familiar with the efforts of developing countries to introduce a “Development Agenda” at WIPO.

For those that came in late (phantom style), here’s the gist from the CPTech website:

“On October 4, 2004, the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization agreed to adopt a proposal offered by Argentina and Brazil, the “Proposal for the Establishment of a Development Agenda for WIPO” (sometimes referred to as “Item 12” because of its placement listing on the meeting’s agenda). This proposal was strongly supported by developing countries, as well as by a large contingent of civil society. Prior to the General Assembly meeting, hundreds of nonprofits, scientists, academics and other individuals had signed the “Geneva Declaration on the Future of WIPO,” which calls on WIPO to focus more on the needs of developing countries, and to view IP as one of many tools for development – not as an end in itself. “

The MIP now reports that efforts are underway to translate this agenda to practical results:

“Government officials attending the WIPO General Assembly have agreed on how they are going to tackle the controversial issue of the IP organization’s Development Agenda.
Member states decided last week that they will hold two meetings in 2007 to consider more than 100 proposals that have been put forward as part of efforts to make WIPO more responsive to the needs to developing countries. The issues range from making available money for training IP officials to ensuring that policy makers consider the impact of their proposals on developing countries.
“The emphasis is going to be on getting practical results,” said Francis Gurry, WIPO deputy director general.
On another controversial issue that divides developing and developed countries – patent harmonization – member states agreed to hold more talks during the first half of 2007.”

The extracts above refer to “meetings” and more “meetings”. Granted, that “meetings” are necessary to build consensus, particularly in controversial areas such as international IP–but then, at some point, WIPO has to be reminded that if it is to be seen as taking the development agenda seriously, “actions speak much louder than words”.

Shamnad Basheer

Shamnad Basheer

Prof (Dr) Shamnad Basheer founded SpicyIP in 2005. He is currently the Honorary Research Chair of IP Law at Nirma University and a visiting professor of law at the National Law School (NLS), Bangalore. He is also the Founder of IDIA, a project to train underprivileged students for admissions to the leading law schools. He served for two years as an expert on the IP global advisory council (GAC) of the World Economic Forum (WEF). In 2015, he received the Infosys Prize in Humanities in 2015 for his work on legal education and on democratising the discourse around intellectual property law and policy. The jury was headed by Nobel laureate, Prof Amartya Sen. Professional History: After graduating from the NLS, Bangalore Professor Basheer joinedAnand and Anand, one of India’s leading IP firms. He went on to head their telecommunication and technology practice and was rated by the IFLR as a leading technology lawyer. He left for the University of Oxford to pursue post-graduate studies, completing the BCL, MPhil and DPhil as a Wellcome Trust scholar. His first academic appointment was at the George Washington University Law School, where he served as the Frank H Marks Visiting Associate Professor of IP Law. He then relocated to India in 2008 to take up the MHRD Chaired Professorship in IP Law at WB NUJS, a leading Indian law school. Prof Basheer has published widely and his articles have won awards, including those instituted by ATRIP and the Stanford Technology Law Review. He is consulted widely by the government, industry, international organisations and civil society on a variety of IP issues. He also serves on several government committees.

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