CMBD Perspectives — Policy Compliments: IP in the Development Context

We draw your attention to an excellent article published by IP Watch, regarding intellectual property rights and their consideration in the upcoming UNCTAD XIII Conference in Doha. Leaving aside for the time being the continuing controversy regarding UNCTAD’s remit with respect to IP, not to mention a host of other important policy considerations on regulatory balance and other areas (we will come back to this in the next week), it is useful to note that UNCTAD XIII is just one more setting where the developing countries have a different view regarding IP than does the developed countries establishment. Simply put, the developing countries regard IP, Foreign Direct Investment and Trade and Development considerations to be intertwined, and hence policies regarding them should be developed accordingly. This view while not expressly stated in the position paper presented by the Group of 77 plus China, is apparent in an appeal for balance between public interest and private privilege. The LDC position is more explicit, with an appeal to more liberal technology transfer through reference to the TRIPS provisions of WTO rules. Perhaps most forceful is the relevant statement coming from the BRICS at the close of their Delhi conference in late March, which was very supportive of the developing country views.

So UNCTAD XIII will meet in Doha this week, from 21-26 April, with “Development-centred Globalization: Towards inclusive and sustainable growth and development” as its theme. The outcomes document is already in preparation but in its current form it is a negotiating text with lots of bracketed items, to be marked up and altered during the conference. We will watch with great interest how IP issues are resolved (or not).

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