Technology transfer

Developing countries, in particular, see technology transfer as part of the bargain in which they have agreed to protect intellectual property rights. The TRIPS Agreement includes a number of provisions on this. For example, it says one of the purposes of protecting intellectual property is to promote innovation and technology transfer, and it requires developed countries’ governments to provide incentives for their companies to transfer technology to least-developed countries.

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More precisely, Article 7 (“Objectives”) states that the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and obligations.

The obligation for developed countries to provide incentives for technology transfer are in Article 66.2. Least-developed countries want this requirement to be made more effective. In Doha, ministers agreed that the TRIPS Council would “put in place a mechanism for ensuring the monitoring and full implementation of the obligations”. The council adopted a decision setting up this mechanism in February 2003. It details the information developed countries are to supply by the end of the year, on how their incentives are functioning in practice.

This decision is now being implemented, and was reviewed in full when the TRIPS Council met in November 2003. Submissions made and discussions in the TRIPS Council can be found by using the document search facility according to different search criteria as given below.

At the same time, various decisions under TRIPS have raised the question of technology transfer and reiterated the commitment to implement Article 66.2, such as the 2003 and 2005 decisions on TRIPS and Public Health.

Additionally, climate change negotiators have been discussing the link between technology transfer and the TRIPS Agreement. In this context, the University of Copenhagen and the WTO Secretariat jointly organized a side event in which the first draft of a paper was distributed.


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13–18 December 2005: Hong Kong Ministerial Conference: Ministers agree on declaration that ‘puts Round back on track’
> News item > Ministerial Declaration > Ministerial main page

WIPO-WTO joint workshop: Intellectual Property Rights and Transfer of Technology
Held on 17 November 2003, and open to all WIPO member states and WTO members and observer governments. Full details, including presentations on the WIPO website (link opens in a new window).



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  • Minutes of TRIPS Council meetings which mention technology transfer (Article 66.2) (searches for document code IP/C/M/* and keyword "Article 66.2")   > search
  • Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement: Information from Developed Country Members (Document code IP/C/W/* and keyword varies)   > search
  • Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement: Communication from Least-Developed Countries (Document code IP/C/W/* and keyword "Implementation of Article 66.2 — Communication from Least-Developed Countries")   > search
  • Implementation of Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement: Decision of the Council for TRIPS (Document code IP/C/* and keyword "Implementation of Article 66.2 — Decision of the Council for TRIPS”)   > search

You can perform more sophisticated searches from the Documents Online search facility (opens in new window) by defining multiple search criteria such as document code, full text search or document date.