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2012 Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest: Call for Participation and Save the Date

Posted by Prasad Krishna at May 02, 2012 05:05 AM |
The Second Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest will take place in FGV Law School, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil from December 15 to 17, 2012. The theme for this year’s Congress will be “Setting the positive agenda in motion.” We invite applications to attend the Congress, including proposals to chair workshops or deliver a paper or presentation related to the Congress’s theme.

Application and Cost

The application form is available online. Due to generous support from our sponsors, the Congress will cover the registration fees and all on-site costs for all attendees, including lunches and dinner receptions. Limited travel grants to cover accommodation and/or travel to the Congress will be available, with priorities for those from developing countries.


  1. Priority applications for travel assistance and to present or chair a workshop at the Congress will be due by August 1, 2012.
  2. Final applications for travel grants, subject to funding availability, as well as applications to present at the Congress, will be due by September 1, 2012.
  3. Applicants not seeking travel assistance or presentation opportunities may apply to attend the Congress by November 1, 2012.

Background and Explanation of the Theme

The first Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest was convened in 2011 to define a positive agenda for policy reform, build a global network of scholars and advocates to promote the agenda and provide opportunities for the sharing of research and strategies. The nearly 200 inaugural participants from over 30 countries and 6 continents deliberated over three days through in-person meetings and web-based collaboration to produce the Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest ( -- an action agenda for promoting the public interest in intellectual property and information law reform around the world.

Sixteen months later, we come together to measure our progress and expand the positive agenda. To this end, we invite applications to attend the Congress and contribute to its deliberations identifying forums where policy is being developed, proposing policies or actions that promote public interest goals and principles, and identifying and planning to respond to research and analysis needs.

Presentation Opportunities

Because the primary purpose of the Congress is to promote deliberation and action planning, the opportunities for formal presentation will be somewhat limited. We will, however, have spaces for keynote presentations or panel discussions for each session (see below). In addition, as in the inaugural year, the Congress will host small works-in-progress workshops to allow participants to share their own work and solicit feedback from peers.

Draft Workshop Sessions

Six main tracks will include a half day workshop introduced by a lecture or panel discussion on one or more of the themes noted below. The keynote introduction will be followed by deliberation in which participants will, first, review progress and opportunity in existing or potential policy forums and, second, review the current state of research and identify policy and empirical research needs and resources. Tracks will also have opportunities to draft statements or action plans for adoption at the closing plenary of the Congress or for discussion and online after the Congress ends.

We encourage applicants to identify specific sessions in which they would like to contribute.

Regulating Intellectual Property: This session will survey recent developments and proposals to regulate uses of intellectual property through other legal doctrines that express and safeguard human values, including human rights, consumer protection, competition and privacy laws.

Valuing Openness and the Public Domain: This session will survey recent developments and proposals to ensure that creative and innovative works ultimately become free for all to use as part of the public domain, including through open licensing, open access, open educational resources, open data, open standards, open government, and related open information policies.

Strengthening Limitations and Exceptions as Enabling Tools for Innovation and Expression: This session will survey recent developments and proposals to use limitations and exceptions as positive enabling doctrines to ensure that intellectual property law fulfills its ultimate purpose of promoting essential aspects of the public interest.

Setting Public Interest Priorities for Patent and Research and Development Reform: This session will survey recent developments and proposals to ensure that patent and other research and development policies serve all segments of society, and particularly the most disadvantaged, and accommodate the diverse needs of a complex world with a more diverse structure of incentives for innovation.

Supporting Cultural Creativity: This session will survey recent developments and proposals to maximize opportunities for creativity while increasing access to creative works and helping to end disputes over practices like non-commercial file-sharing.

Checking Enforcement Excesses: This session will survey recent developments and proposals to ensure that intellectual property enforcement policies and practices respect the human rights principle of proportionality and are not used as a diversion from the difficult task of tailoring intellectual property norms to their social contexts.

Implementing Development Agendas: This session will survey recent developments and proposals to fully integrate the development dimension into intellectual property policy and norm-setting at all levels of international and national intellectual policy making. The session will have a special focus on developments in the BRICS group of emerging economies.

Targeted Research: Given the spectrum of issues described above, what are the key research needs?  Given academic incentive structures, what kinds of research fall through the cracks?  Given the funding crisis in this field, how can we meet research needs on the cheap? Given the international scope of many policy issues, how can we work collaboratively and comparatively?  Given the Internet, how can we develop and leverage new software tools for data collection?

In addition to the above sessions, we invite presentations on other topics relevant to the positive agenda the Washington Declaration promotes, including:

  • the role of mobilisation and activism.
  • collaboration between ISPs and governments in enforcement
  • the ecology of access to educational materials
  • designing copyright from scratch
  • updates and lessons from specific forms, e.g. WIPO, national legislatures, trade negotiations, etc.

The application form is available here. Please forward this invitation to interested lists and individuals. For more information or questions, you may contact [email protected].

Global Congress Planning Committee

  1. Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade – CTS | FGV DIREITO RIO, 2012 Chair
  2. American Assembly, Columbia University, New York
  3. International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Geneva
  4. Centre for Internet and Society, India
  5. Open African Innovation Research and Training (Open AIR) initiative
  6. Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University, Wash. D.C.
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