The report of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, published in September last year, has aroused a considerable amount of controversy. The Commission contended that the global imposition of intellectual property rights (IPRs) through the TRIPS agreement may not be beneficial for most developing countries, and may not help in the reduction of poverty. It recommended that developing countries should make the most of the existing flexibilities in TRIPS in order to limit the potential costs that IPR regimes may cause. Accordingly it suggested that developed countries and international institutions (such as WIPO or the WTO) should modify their policies to avoid imposing new IP obligations on developing countries, and provide technical assistance tailored to the needs of particular countries - "higher IP standards should not be pressed on them without a serious and objective assessment of their development impact."
In this series we look at the general philosophy underlying the Commission report, and then the specific application of it in the fields of agriculture and health.