[A2k] IPJ Stmt on Friends of Development Proposal
Thu Feb 23 10:51:01 2006
IP JUSTICE STATEMENT
on the Group of Friends of Development=92s Proposal for a Development
Agenda at WIPO
At the 1st Session of the Provisional Committee for a Development Agenda
By IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross
23 February 2006 ~ Geneva, Switzerland
Thank you, Mr. Chairman for this opportunity to comment on the Friends
of Development proposal. I represent IP Justice, an international civil
liberties organization that promotes balanced intellectual property law.
Mr. Chairman, IP Justice has coordinated a group statement that has been
endorsed by 138 public-interest NGOs from all four corners of the world
to express our complete and united support for the Friends of
Development proposal. The vast majority of these groups could not be
here today to express their concerns, so we carry their message to this
forum with this group statement, which is available on the floor table
outside in 4 languages.
1. We fully support amending the WIPO Convention to include explicit
language incorporating a Development Dimension. As a UN Specialized
Agency, WIPO has an obligation to promote the application of
intellectual property rights in a manner that promotes economic, social
and cultural development in both developed and developing countries.
2. We fully support consideration of a Treaty on Access to Knowledge
and Technology. A specification of user freedoms is crucial for
establishing the appropriate balance between authors' rights and the
public interest that is critical for enabling development in
disadvantaged countries and consumer rights everywhere. Particularly
because rightsholders often curtail user rights by applying
Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) to copyrighted works, a clear
demarcation of user rights is necessary to maintain the traditional
balance of rights.
In addition, Mr. Chairman, we endorse the following reforms to WIPO
norms and practices, outlined in the Friends of Development proposal:
3. Weigh the costs and benefits of intellectual property rights. WIPO
should adopt norm-setting principles and guidelines that balance public
access and competition against monopoly rights, with a unique evaluation
for each country.
4. Intellectual property rights are not ends in themselves. WIPO
should carry out independent, evidence-based "development impact
assessments" in developing countries to ensure that application of these
rights advances public goals by promoting innovation, creativity and
5. A "one size fits all" (XL) approach to IP rights does not foster
development in all countries. Expansive application of these rights
favors wealthy developed countries and maintains the current imbalance
in access to knowledge and information that the Development Agenda is
intended to remedy. WIPO should recognize the right of all countries to
design development strategies according to their own national values.
6. Finally, Mr. Chairman, IP laws must protect flexibilities and
limitations. International agreements and developed countries' own laws
provide for flexibilities and limitations such as competition policy,
and compulsory licenses for medicine, and fair use. These exceptions
demonstrate that limiting monopoly rights often achieves important
public benefits. WIPO technical assistance should promote the full range
of flexibilities provided by TRIPS.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.