IP Justice Statement
at the
2nd Session of the
Provisional Committee for a Development Agenda at WIPO

26 – 30 June 2006 – Geneva, Switzerland
By IP Justice Executive Director Robin D. Gross

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to address this Provisional Committee for a Development Agenda (PCDA) at WIPO. I represent IP Justice, an international public interest NGO that promotes balanced intellectual property laws.

IP Justice would like to register its support for the June 23rd proposal submitted by the Friends of Development on the “Decision of the PCDA on the Establishment of a WIPO Development Agenda” (PCDA/2/2). This document has carefully synthesized various proposals into 21 concrete recommendations to the General Assembly that will significantly advance the public interest at WIPO and re-align WIPO with it’s United Nations mandate.

Particularly, IP Justice supports the recommendation to reaffirm WIPO’s commitment to the principles and goals of the United Nations system: economic and social development. As a member of the United Nations family, humanitarian objectives should be WIPO’s stated priority.

The PCDA should adopt the Declaration proposed in point 2 of the Friends of Development proposal that permits consideration of various models to incentivise innovation. The proposed Declaration also recognizes that the pursuit of upward harmonization of intellectual property rights, without consideration of the social and economic costs, runs contrary to WIPO’s UN mandate.

IP Justice also encourages the PCDA to recommend to the 2006 WIPO General Assembly that it launch treaty negotiations for a “Treaty on Access to Knowledge and Technology”. Such a treaty could promote positive uses of information technologies and laws designed to narrow the gap in the digital divide.

Another concrete recommendation that this committee could make to improve the public interest culture at WIPO would be to adopt the principles, guidelines, and correlative treaty provisions in point 7 of the proposed recommendations. The nine public policy recommendations in point 7 reflect the shared view of several proposals and the needs of all WIPO Member States to instill a balanced perspective throughout all WIPO activities and practices.

IP Justice also supports the recommendation in point 5 to promote model approaches for implementing safeguards against anti-competitive practices and flexibilities and limitations in international IPR treaties. These provisions are equally a part of the legal framework reflecting the balance struck between the public and rights holders, yet are often less understood by developing countries.

Another recommendation worthy of serious attention is the proposal to agree on the promotion and development of alternative innovation models including Free and Open Source Software. And flexible licensing regimes like the Creative Commons encourage greater access to information in a digital environment and should be further promoted by WIPO as well.

Mr. Chairman, the importance of these proceedings has captured the attention of a world wide audience. Last summer IP Justice coordinated a “Group NGO Statement”, in which a diverse range of 138 public interest groups from all over the world endorsed the Friends of Development proposal for reform at WIPO. These groups could not be here to express their views, so we carry their message in this “Group Statement”, which available in four languages on the floor table directly outside this room.

Mr. Chairman, we are confident that you will successfully guide this committee to fulfill its mandate and reach a set of recommendations that can assist WIPO to meet its public interest obligations as a United Nations Specialized Agency. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

More Info: