Transfer Pricing Associates

Climate Top Rio+20 on IP

post Saturday June 30, 2012

Tags: innovation, intellectual property rights, ipr, rio+20, technology



Sustainability is highly dependent on technology. While there is no shortage of technology available, the pertinent question to ask is if, and how these technologies can be transferred to the regions where they will provide the most impact, on which there are strongly divergent views.The discussion starts with the interpretation of intellectual property rights’ role in fostering innovation.


Rio+20 demonstrated again that major industrialised countries, where most green technologies originate, do not agree with the developing world’s position on how environmentally sound technologies ought to be disseminated. Developing countries prefer open and accessible technology, while developed countries place a high value on intellectual property rights and the innovation process. They say any attempts to dilute that will adversely impact research and development of environmentally sound technologies (EST).


The stark differences between the industrialised countries and the developing countries on the issue of IPRs and EST were obvious during the negotiations. The developing countries tried to get a firm commitment to allow access to green technologies and wanted to explore more opportunities for better access, but were stiffly resisted by the major industrialised economies.


A senior UN official said that the U.S. and other developed countries argued that technology is a private good and has to be purchased at full price, and that RIO+20  was not the forum for taking up matters related to intellectual property. Instead, such issues need to be discussed out in more relevant forums, such as World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).


The resulting compromise was full off general intentions, but weak on specifics and implementation programs.


The battle to link IP rights with green technologies will continue as analysts of developing countries point out that the current IP regime has flexibilities which could facilitate wider diffusion of environmentally sound technologies from industrialised to developing nations.


Source: IPWatch

Image courtesy of : Rio+20 conference logo

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