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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: WIPO-WTO COLLOQUIUM FOR IP TEACHERS

Statements from the directors-general and directors

From the WIPO and WTO directors-general

The WIPO-WTO Colloquium for Teachers of Intellectual Property has become a central feature of the burgeoning cooperation between the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) on practical capacity building. Enhancing this cooperation is particularly crucial in light of the two organizations’ mandates and ongoing efforts to ensure that development considerations are an integral part of their work.

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 Photo credit (WIPO): Dhillon Photographics


WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry

WTO Director-General Roberto Azêvedo

This volume is the third in a series of annual publications from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).  Prepared by the WIPO-WTO Colloquium for Teachers of Intellectual Property, this collection of academic papers represents an important contribution to international scholarship in the field of intellectual property (IP).  Today we witness ever increasing, more diverse forms of international interaction on IP, yet equally we see growing attention to differing national policy needs and social and developmental priorities in this field.  The Colloquium Papers series highlights the importance of fostering scholarship in emerging IP jurisdictions, harvesting the insights from policy and academic debates from across the globe, and promoting mutual learning through the sharing of research and scholarship on a broader geographical base.

For over a decade, the annual WIPO-WTO Colloquium itself has played a central role in the joint capacity building programmes of WIPO and the WTO.  This cooperation seeks to enrich dialogue on IP issues and to address the developmental and wider policy considerations that form an integral part of IP law and policy today.  The Colloquium responds to the recognition that developmental benefits from the IP system can only be reaped through skilled adaptation to national circumstances and judicious use by informed practitioners.  Equally, effective policy development at the national level needs increasingly to draw upon skilled, informed and sophisticated policy analysis.  The Colloquium bolsters the capacity of those best placed to ensure truly sustainable, long-term benefits from the adept use of the IP system — those who teach the IP practitioners of the future, and those who conduct research on IP law and policy.

The programme has produced more than 220 alumni.  This is a diverse and active network of highly engaged teachers and researchers, which reaches across the developing world.  Whilst this network is the principal focus of the programme, it also includes a number of developed countries.  It is heartening to see the contributions of these scholars in many avenues — through their academic publications, through their active participation in national and international policy debates, through their own teaching and through their contribution to capacity building in the developing world.

We see the Colloquium Papers — an edited, peer-reviewed academic journal — as epitomizing the trend towards more diverse and yet more rigorous capacity building in IP law and policy.  The three publications issued since 2010 draw together the participants' original insights into current IP issues in their countries, and give greater substance to the network of mutual learning and intellectual exchanges that characterize the Colloquium programme.

The latest publication, a selection of papers from the 2012 Colloquium, covers an impressive range of IP subject matter, including patents, trademarks, geographical indications, copyright, IP enforcement, and Internet domain names.  The papers discuss policy issues including food security, access to pharmaceutical products, transfer of technology, the interaction between domestic and international IP laws, and Internet governance, all of which are vital to the development of IP systems in developing countries.  This publication series may now be presented as a significant new academic journal with unique coverage of IP law and policy focused on emerging IP jurisdictions. 

In today's changing global economy, IP significantly influences the everyday lives of all citizens around the world.  An international IP system that can adjust to the shifting global economic landscape, while also stimulating innovation and furthering development, demands the understanding, participation and cooperation of all peoples across the societal spectrum.  Initiatives such as the Colloquium play an important role in building capacity, raising awareness, and engaging all societies that are affected by the evolution of the international IP system.

We congratulate the contributing scholars for their first rate research, and we thank the Editorial Board — a highly distinguished group of senior IP scholars — for their invaluable support and engagement, which has helped establish the Papers as a credible academic publication.  We should also record our appreciation for the work of our colleagues in the WIPO Academy and the WTO IP Division in organizing the Colloquium and facilitating the publication.  Finally, we commendthe Colloquium Papers as an important emerging source for academic research to what we trust will be a wide and ever more diverse readership.

 

From the Directors of the WTO IP Division and WIPO Academy back to top


WTO IP Division Director Antony Taubman

WIPO Academy Director Marcelo di Pietro Peralta

This volume — the third in the series of academic papers resulting from the WIPO-WTO Colloquium — encapsulates much that is challenging, significant and fascinating in the field of intellectual property (IP) today.  Always with a strong international dimension, the IP system is undergoing an unprecedented phase of globalization and a building of international institutions, bringing with it a deepened understanding of the centrality of a balanced and effective IP system in economic and social development.  Yet this same period has precipitated an intensive, wide-ranging process of inquiry about how to adapt and apply IP principles to ensure economic growth, sound public policy, and sustainable development in diverse settings across the globe, recognizing the diversity of economic, social and technological settings, national developmental priorities, and legal and commercial systems.

Intellectual property is seemingly ubiquitous in contemporary life, but its role and impact are both highly diverse and in need of careful analysis and informed debate.  An IP dimension is present in many challenging public policy issues today.  For instance, we see growing attention to its role in promoting public health, addressing climate change, and achieving food security, as well as its interaction with human rights and social and economic development.  Intellectual property has been the subject of complex, multifaceted debates at the multilateral, regional and national levels over the rights of indigenous people, the conservation of biodiversity, the ethics and use of genetic resources, Internet governance, climate change technology, and access to education and medicine.  And behind these debates lies an essential question:  how to come to grips with the significant responsibility of IP systems in the current world economy, in international trade, and in national policy environment:  how should IP systems be designed or adapted to promote economic development, stimulate innovation, and disseminate knowledge in a manner that balances the rights of all stakeholders?

The contemporary field of IP is therefore characterized by profound and searching debates on questions of essential public policy;  an approach to policy-making that emphasizes empirical research, theoretical clarity, and achieves coherence with other areas of law;  and the harvesting of practical experience from an ever widening base of national IP systems and participants in the policy and practice of IP.  It is, therefore, a field in need of a deeper and wider research effort; sophisticated, informed and carefully tailored approaches to education and practical capacity building;  and, above all, dialogue and debate founded on a richer base of information, theoretical understanding, practical experience, and knowledge of its implications in other areas of law and policy.

Both WIPO and the WTO have been called upon to play a role in strengthening capacity to deal with the intellectual challenges of these policy debates.  This increasing diversity of demand for capacity-building support has had a profound impact on programme design and delivery.  The WIPO Academy has developed a wide range of specialist courses and training activities to respond to this evolving pattern of demand, and to reach out to and support an ever widening range of stakeholders.

The WTO IP Division continues to broaden and tailor its technical cooperation and policy support activities, developing a wider engagement with current international issues and with a broader base of stakeholders, exemplified by work on public health issues.  But none of these outcomes can be possible without partnerships — the sharing of ideas, pooling of resources, and coordination of practical activities — so that the necessary wide range of experience and expertise can be drawn on to meet diverse needs.

Both the WIPO Academy and the WTO Intellectual Property Division therefore enjoy many valuable partnerships as a central strategy in ensuring programme delivery.  The Colloquium has exemplified and promoted current trends in technical assistance and capacity building:  it builds upon and extends an existing partnership between WIPO and the WTO;  it responds to the need for stronger, broader dialogue and a greater involvement of voices from all perspectives in contemporary debates;  it recognizes the central role of indigenous capacity building and of the key contribution of IP teachers and researchers as the mainstay of sustainable development of the necessary IP expertise in developing countries;  it transcends traditional boundaries between regions and between 'north' and 'south' to allow fruitful discourse on the future of IP systems.  Most importantly, it recognizes the importance of extending beyond an educational function to one of bringing together a diverse group with the aim of reviving and refreshing dialogues on IP and its cognate fields.

The Colloquium has, in particular, laid emphasis on the role of participants as active players, as informed, stimulating teachers and researchers who bring to the two-week dialogue as much as they take away from it.  Past feedback from participants stressed the need to capture, in more permanent form, the many insights gleaned from these few days of intensive, vigorous discussion.  Participating teachers and researchers expressed important new ideas and insights to global debates that could enrich and inform the exchange among policymakers, the academic community, and the public at large.

These thoughts, guided very much by the participating teachers and researchers themselves, are what gave rise to the present publication, which is in a way a tribute to the intellectual energy and curiosity of the many alumni of the past Colloquia, with whom we continue to enjoy a range of partnerships and dialogue.

WIPO and the WTO both host numerous meetings every year, in Geneva and in many locations elsewhere, and under numerous headings:  committees, seminars, workshops, roundtables, symposia, and so on.  But amidst all this activity, the idea of a 'colloquium' has a special ring to it — for the WIPO-WTO Colloquium, it connotes a spirit of academic enquiry, a search for new ideas and new ways of analysing IP and related fields, through open debate, rigorous research, and new ways of communicating the complexities of IP law, practice and policy.  We trust that this publication will bring to a wider community of researchers, policymakers and teachers some of the colloquium spirit that we have valued so much in this unique programme.

All of us who have participated in the Colloquium have benefited from the hard work and dedication of many colleagues within WIPO and the WTO Secretariat — notably, the WIPO Academy and the WTO Intellectual Property Division.  All have contributed valuably to the design and delivery of this programme, and their spirit of collegiality makes a demanding programme also a pleasurable one.

We owe a particular debt of gratitude to the Editorial Board and the student Editors of the Colloquium Papers:  they have been indispensable in ensuring that the Papers can be used as a trusted, academically sound and readable source of cutting edge IP scholarship from an impressive group of emerging scholars from across the developing world.  Finally, we record our deep appreciation for the contributions made by individual scholars to this, and the preceding, volumes – we have come to know and respect their contributions to policy and legal scholarship, and we are sure that this active, informed and thoughtful participation in many of the key public policy debates of today will continue, exemplifying the important public service role performed by the scholarly community today.

 

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