Sarah Hiddleston

It is intended to correct policymaking and activities

Gap between rich and poor countries to be accounted for

Implementation of agenda may not be easy

CHENNAI: The United Nations patent and copyright agency has adopted a 45-point development agenda intended to correct policymaking and activities to account for the gap in knowledge and technology that separates rich countries from poor ones.

Member-states of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) General Assembly, which met in Geneva from September 27 to October 3, agreed to the proposal finalised by the provisional committee in June. This includes significant reforms of the WIPO technical assistance and capacity building programmes; the establishment of a new development-based framework for norm-setting (treaty-making) activities; consideration of access to knowledge and technology issues; enhancing WIPO activities on technology transfer; and introducing a new evaluation and impact assessment framework in WIPO, among other measures. A committee on development and intellectual property is to be established immediately to develop, monitor and implement recommendations.

The development agenda was first proposed in 2004 by Argentina and Brazil and supported by 12 developing countries, including India.

“Intellectual property rights should be relevant to the stage of development and not a protection regime,” B.K. Keayla, National Working Group on Patent Laws, told The Hindu on the telephone from New Delhi. “WIPO’s original intention was to have a tighter IPR regime whereby all registration of patents would be centralised. Each country would lose its sovereignty. The development agenda doesn’t allow this, it serves the purpose of government.”

In a statement given in Geneva WIPO’s Director-General Dr. Kamal Idris said, “This milestone decision is an important and positive step towards ensuring that the international intellectual property system continues to serve the public good by encouraging and rewarding innovation and creativity in a balanced and effective manner.”

However, the implementation of the agenda may not be easy. According to a Reuters report, the U.S. and European countries blocked WIPO’s $537 million two-year budget on Wednesday, the final day of the session, following a controversy over allegations that Dr. Idris falsified his age on official documents.