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4th Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest: Statement of Conclusion for the IP and Development track

The 4th Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest was held from December 15 to 17, 2015 in New Delhi. This post provides a summary of the event.

This was also published on the Global Congress blog.

Wrap up note 1: Feedback on broad discussion in the IP and Dev track – set of collected key points:

This year, the discussions included attention to broad perspectives on clarifying the meaning and reality of open collaborative innovation, as well as significant focus on the sub-themes of economic development (innovation and software patents, clean technologies, climate change and green patenting, issues of branding and plain packaging); sustainable development (agriculture and geographic indicators [GI]); policy, law and regulation (role of governments, patenting, compulsory licensing [CL], global institutions [particularly WTO, WIPO and WHO] and national institutions [particularly patent offices]). Trade dominated the discussions across the IP and Dev track, including the TPP and other issues, reflecting the strong global trade agenda.

Missing areas in the track papers, workshops and panel discussions included the limited discussion on traditional knowledge (TK); the work of indigenous groups and how they are navigating the IP landscape; biodiversity; biotech and food security; innovation in the nanotechnology sphere; and inclusive development. Accessibility to innovations for low-income households, and accessibility to innovations at the country level needs greater attention. These topics can be brought out more strongly, more directly.

The value of building research networks to create explicit knowledge and coherence in research-based evidence for advocacy and policy-making was made visible in the workshop session presented by Open AIR, with the Open AIR network as the exemplar. The challenge is to translate the kinds of research and evidence presented at the GC into content and value for policy-making and trade negotiations.

Wrap up note 2: Value of the deliberations and future research:

This is a new track in the GC, introduced in 2015. It is an important track for this and future Global Congresses because it brings together the many strands of research, advocacy and other work that are related to topics in innovation, IP and development, but which are not specifically about openness, user rights or A2M. This is a very broad range of fields of study, from agriculture to nanotechnology. It was proposed that the track be renamed “Innovation and Development” to more explicitly describe its focus.

From this GC, it has become clearer what future topics may be considered for papers and other inputs into the IP and Dev track. Such topics include counter-narratives to mainstream IP perspectives; bringing IP for development in multiple sectors to the fore – in education; in automotive manufacturing; in technology evolution; in agricultural production and food security; in the broad policy, law and regulatory environment pertinent to these and other sectoral perspectives. For example, in the paper on green patenting, reference was made to Tesla and Toyota releasing patents, but the session did not get to discuss that. The papers presented at the 4th GC suggest many areas of focus for future research and future GCs – perhaps the best way to think about this exploration is through greater attention to     innovation in a range of social and economic sectors; to consider the particular challenges of innovation, IP and development in LDCs; to study innovation ecosystems and where IP fits in these ecosystem. Cross-track sessions are also considered to be very important because of the knowledge sharing that takes place across sectors, for example the discussions on patent wars in the access to medicines (A2M) track provided food for thought with respect to emerging issues in     the software sector.

Wrap up note 3: Ideas and implications of GC sessions for future directions for research, collaborations and next GC:

For the next GC, mobilization is required across various geographic regions and a significant discussion is required on preparation and design of the sub-themes, based on the notes above. The requirement for more evidence-based research was noted. It was recommended that the future name of the track should be Innovation and Development. The core group, comprised of track leaders and sessions chairs, should continue the leadership of the track from GC to GC, bringing additional interested persons on board, in particular with respect to the design of sub-themes well in advance of the 5th GC, to guide prospective submissions.