UNCTAD supports sustainable IP models

We have moved a long way from the days in which any talk of IP at an international level meant calls for harsher protection to foster direct investment. The UN Conference on Trade and Sustainable Development (UNCTAD) has published a report entitled Structural Transformation and Sustainable Development in Africa, and it is there is a call for more flexible IP systems that allow the transfer of technology to developing countries, particularly in areas of sustainable development. It reads:

“[A]ttention must be paid to ways in which the intellectual property rights (IPR) regime affects the transfer of technologies that support environmental sustainability objectives. It is important in particular that IPR facilitate technological development and do not act as a barrier preventing African countries from accessing and using the technologies necessary for leapfrogging. This is a complex issue. According to Ocampo (2011), “a delicate balance must be struck between the advantages and costs IPR have for technologically dependent countries”, and the following reforms to the global IPR regime could be supportive: (a) broader room for compulsory licensing (replicating in the area of environmental sustainability the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and on public health of the World Trade Organization (WTO)); (b) strengthening patenting standards, particularly standards of breadth and novelty; (c) limiting the length of patent protection; and (d) allowing innovators to use existing patented knowledge to generate new innovations.”

More please.

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