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Sunday, 20 July 2008

Never mind the IP, let's all become landscape gardeners

What is the World Intellectual Property Organization up to now? The IPKat has received a circular announcing WIPO's latest venture -- it's hosting a Symposium on IP and Multilateral Environmental Agreements in Geneva.

Right: in the Great IP Garden, trade marks are the perennials but you have to plant a load of patents in the hope that you'll get any flowering ones.

According to press circular 2008MA/2008/42,

"On August 26, 2008, ... WIPO is organizing under its Life Sciences Program a Symposium that will explore intellectual property (IP) rights and their role in the development and transfer of technologies within the context of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). Many MEAs contain technology transfer provisions around which IP issues arise. The event will provide an opportunity for policy makers and other stakeholders to share their experiences and to explore the IP dimensions of technology transfer provisions contained in MEAs.

The development, application and transfer of technology are core elements in the implementation of MEAs. The Symposium aims to foster a better understanding of the types of IP issues that may arise in the context of the implementation of MEAs. It will further build on previous work on patent landscaping ... and highlight the use of patent information tools and their usefulness in identifying technological developments of relevance to the environment and in facilitating the transfer of appropriate technologies within the context of MEAs. The event aims to promote a better understanding of the potential benefits as well as the limitations of IP rights in supporting technology transfer under MEAs.

WIPO’s Symposia on Life Sciences and Intellectual Property Policy aim to enhance understanding of topical issues of concern to policymakers by providing a forum for stakeholders (including international policymakers, government agencies, legislators, delegates, civil society and the private sector) to exchange information and ideas on IP as it relates to the life sciences. They are designed to promote better understanding of the role and practical importance of the IP system to the life sciences and its potential in supporting the development of public policy within this rapidly evolving field".
You can get information on the full series of WIPO Life Sciences Symposia here. The event is open to the general public; admission is free of charge. Anyone interested in attending the meeting can do so by completing the online registration form.

The IPKat is delighted to see that WIPO is prepared to take the discussion of the merits of IP rights into the enemy heartlands, as it were, by engaging environmental lobbyists and others who are often automatically anti-IP because they see it as a politico-economic issue and as a means of exercising control over the poor and the oppressed. Merpel's applause is more muted: if you really want to open the debate, the idea's fine -- and so is the free admission -- but wouldn't it be great to hold this symposium in a place where it cost a little less to buy a cup of coffee?

Advice for landscape gardeners here
The constant gardener here

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