Request for support for reform at WIPO - Group NGO stmt supporting Development Agenda available for sign-on
robin at IPJUSTICE.ORG
Thu Jul 14 17:01:45 CEST 2005
Apologies for the cross-posting, but ....
Attached and below is a statement for publication at next week's WIPO
Development Agenda Meeting. Civil society groups are invited to sign-on
to the statement to show support for reform at WIPO, and specifically,
support for the Friends of Development proposal.
Background info on the WIPO Development Agenda meeting is posted at:
If your NGO would like to sign-on in support of this statement, please
send me an email (robin at ipjustice.org) and indicate the NGO name and
country in which your NGO is based.
Please send your support for this statement by TUESDAY 19 JULY so we can
publish this on Wednesday JULY 20th at the beginning of 3rd IIM of the
Development Agenda meeting at WIPO.
And please distribute this statement as widely as possible and encourage
other groups to please sign-on, so we can show the WIPO delegates that
public-interest groups support reform at WIPO.
Within the next day or so, this group statement (and translations) will
also be posted to the web at:
and supporting NGO names will be added there as they come in.
Our statement would be much more effective if we had it translated into
other languages - particularly Spanish, French, German, Italian, and
Portuguese. If anyone is able to translate this document into any of
these languages (or others), please let me know asap. We'd like to
distribute hard-copies of these translations at the 20-22 July meeting
also, so will need the translations completed by the 19th so we can make
copies in Geneva for distribution on the 20th.
robin at ipjustice.org
We, the undersigned public interest non-governmental organizations
support the adoption of the proposal submitted by the Group of Friends
of Development (FoD) for a Development Agenda at the World Intellectual
Property Organization (WIPO).
Specifically, we call attention to the following principles in the FoD
proposal and recommend that Member States:
1. AMEND THE WIPO CONVENTION (1967) TO EXPRESSLY INCORPORATE A
DEVELOPMENT DIMENSION, CONSISTENT WITH WIPO OBLIGATIONS AS A UN AGENCY
Public interest NGOs fully support Proposal 1 of the adopted Work Plan
(Annex to Summary of Chair), which proposes amending the WIPO Convention
to include explicit language incorporating a development dimension and
the specific language for such change set forth in WO/GA/31/11, appendix 3.
The 1974 agreement between the United Nations and WIPO established WIPO
as a specialized agency of the UN family with responsibility for
“promoting creative intellectual activity and for facilitating the
transfer of technology related to industrial property to the developing
countries in order to accelerate economic, social and cultural
development, subject to the competence and responsibilities of the
United Nations and its organs . . . .”
Amending WIPO’s mandate will enhance and inscribe a development
dimension into the organization’s core, ensuring WIPO will maintain its
responsibility to the UN and promote the public interest, first and
2. CONSIDER ELABORATION OF A TREATY ON ACCESS TO KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY
We fully support Proposal 3 of the adopted Work Plan that calls on
Member States to consider elaboration of a Treaty on Access to Knowledge
Access to knowledge and information sharing are fundamental to education
and research and to fostering innovation and creativity. A treaty
setting out user freedoms would address “the need to maintain a balance
between the rights of authors and the larger public interest,
particularly education, research and access to information, as reflected
in the Berne Convention” as set out in the Preamble to the WIPO
A treaty on access to knowledge and technology would be a key component
in policy interventions to alleviate the situation in disadvantaged
countries and would be of benefit to the overall socio-economic and
political development of a country.
3. ESTABLISH AN INDEPENDENT WIPO EVALUATION AND RESEARCH OFFICE (WERO)
Public interest NGOs fully support Proposal 5 of the adopted Work Plan
that calls for the establishment of WERO.
The creation of an independent research office that would report
directly to the General Assembly is an important component to the reform
mandated by the General Assembly’s adoption of the Development Agenda.
The creation of WERO would strengthen the oversight function of Member
States at WIPO, enhance the credibility of WIPO and its programmess, and
would comply with established international practice in other
organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
As set forth in the FoD Proposal, the establishment of WERO would
provide a transparent, independent and objective body that would
evaluate all WIPO programmes and activities with respect to their
development impact in general and their impact on innovation, creativity
and dissemination of knowledge and technology; assess the development
impact of all proposed norm-setting activities in WIPO; and monitor and
evaluate all WIPO technical assistance activities based on guidelines
established by the General Assembly.
4. ADOPT PRINCIPLES AND GUIDELINES FOR THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME
We fully support the proposals which relate to Technical Assistance.
These are Proposal 4 to Formulate and Adopt Principles and Guidelines
for the Development and Implementation of Technical Assistance; Proposal
10 to Improve Information Sharing on Technical Assistance; and Proposal
14 to Develop Indicators and Benchmarks for the Evaluation of WIPO
We believe that these proposals would enhance the value of technical
assistance to developing countries by providing opportunities to review
technical assistance programmes and keep them fresh, to include new or
alternative business and software models and to ensure that a
cross-section of stakeholder interests are represented. Consultation
with a wide range of groups such as libraries, educators, people with
disabilities and consumers, as well as creators and rightsholders would
help to build capacity and improve governance, a key component of the
2005 Report of the Commission for Africa.
5. REFORM WIPO NORMS AND PRACTICES:
A. Weigh the costs and benefits of copyright, patent and trademark rights
Public interest NGOs fully support Proposal 7 of the adopted Work Plan
to formulate and adopt principles and guidelines for norm-setting
activities in WIPO. WIPO must acknowledge the costs and benefits of both
information monopolies and harmonization.
Continuously expanding the scope and level of copyright, patent and
trademark rights creates real social and economic costs. Norm-setting
activities must follow guidelines that balance public access and
competition policies against monopoly rights in knowledge and
information, and that weigh the economic cost of maintaining and
enforcing these systems against the relative benefits in each country.
In order to reach effective results that meet the challenges of global
development, internationally agreed upon developmental standards should
serve as benchmarks for WIPO norm-setting activities to meet. The United
Nations Millennium Development Goals, which all 191 UN Member States
have pledged to meet, establish development standards that copyright,
patent and trademark laws should seek to facilitate.
B. Copyright, patent and trademark rights are not ends in themselves
and must foster the public goals of innovation, creativity and
Public interest NGOs fully support Proposal 8 of the adopted Work Plan
to undertake independent, evidence-based “development impact assessments.”
International instruments recognize the underlying public goals of
copyright, patent and trademark laws. The WIPO Copyright Treaty
recognizes that copyright law serves “to maintain a balance between the
interests of authors and the larger public interest, particularly
education, research, and access to information.” Trade Related Aspects
of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) Art. 7 explicitly stipulates a balanced
and harmonious outlook between these rights and the public interest.
It is essential that copyright, patent and trademark rights foster
innovation, creativity and technical development. WIPO must adopt a
framework that can ensure that these information monopolies advance
public goals in developing countries. The FoD proposal for a Development
Agenda at WIPO provides an excellent blueprint to begin this reform.
C. “One size (XL) fits all” approach to copyright, patent and
trademark rights does not foster development in all countries
International norms for copyright, patent and trademark rights need to
take into account different levels of development to ensure that the
primary rationale for granting the rights, to promote societal
development by encouraging technological innovation, is actually
Expansive copyright, patent and trademark rights disproportionately
favor wealthy developed countries and perpetuate the current imbalance
in access to and control of knowledge and information. Copyright, patent
and trademark laws must reflect each country’s development needs to
better facilitate access to information and knowledge throughout the
world. Such access is strongly called for in the “Doha Plan of Action”
agreed by the Heads of State and Government of the Group of 77 and China
and in the “Declaration of Principles” of the World Summit on the
Information Society .
All countries have a right to make their own economic development
strategies, which are inherently value based. Articles 1 and 8 of TRIPS
recognize both national sovereignty concerning development strategies
and national values. WIPO’s “one-size-fits-all” approach improperly
assumes that western intellectual property policy embodies universal
D. Copyright, patent and trademark laws need to protect flexibilities
International instruments and developed countries’ own copyright,
trademark and patent laws provide for flexibilities and limitations that
ensure the promotion of social values. Competition policy, compulsory
licenses for medicine, and fair use exceptions demonstrate that monopoly
rights can be curtailed to achieve public benefits.
Countries need to have policy space to meet national developmental
priorities. Creative expression is value driven and copyright, patent
and trademark law governs what type of creative expression is either
permissible or infringing, and what type of creative expression is
“protectable” and to what extent. Since all Member States have a natural
right to exercise their own values and the legal system is the principal
means through which society can assert its values, all nations have a
natural right to make value choices regarding their own level of
copyright, patent and trademark rights.
WIPO technical assistance should promote the full range of flexibilities
provided by TRIPS, including education and promotion of non-proprietary
free and open access development models.
E. More transparent and Member driven with ongoing public interest
Public interest NGOs fully support Proposals 6 and 9 of the adopted Work
Plan which, respectively, seek to ensure wider participation of public
interest NGOs at WIPO, and to establish a system of holding public
hearings prior to the initiation of norm-setting activities.
The FoD proposal initiates an important dialogue on making fundamental
changes to ensure that WIPO is truly Member driven, as the majority of
WIPO constituents are from developing countries. In order to progress as
a Member-driven organization, WIPO must address the development concerns
of its Members in all aspects of its work.
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