IP and Public Policy in Geneva
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by Mark Esper
A short while ago here in Geneva, at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Conference on IP and Public Policy Issues, the U.S. Chamber joined other partners in a press event to launch the Coalition on Innovation, Employment and Development. The Chamber joined this coalition, which has over sixty members, in May.
Before a dozen members of the media, Thaddeus Burns of GE-Europe, Alain Aumonier of Sanofi-Aventis and myself discussed the broad aims of the coalition, its growing and diverse membership, and its’ near term focus on green technologies and the role they will play in addressing global climate change challenges. My partners spoke about the role of strong IP rights in driving innovation, and hence the need to protect IP in any future global climate change agreement.
Coalition partners took many questions on patent issues involving green technology and medicines, as well as copyright and trademark matters. They made the case that IP rights are an enabler of tech transfer to the developing world, citing recent studies and cases. They also emphasized the value of public-private partnerships in achieving effective transfer and diffusion of next-generation technologies.
The coalition members also noted that coalition membership now includes over 60 members in Europe and US, and continues to grow. They also cited the key role IP plays in creating jobs and spurring economic growth.
The WIPO conference reflected the coalition’s view that IP rights drive innovation and need to be protected, whether it is green technologies or medicines. This sentiment was echoed by Francis Gurry, head of the WIPO and others who took part in this conference. Further support was indicated in an advance copy of remarks released by Dr Margaret Chan, head of the WHO. Dr. Chan argues that IP drives the innovation that is needed when it comes to innovations.
All in all, the Coalition had a positive start, and its arrival on the scene in Geneva was a move welcomed by many who appreciate the role of IP in spurring innovation, creating jobs, and helping drive economic growth and development.