January 25, 2010

GIPC White Papers

The GIPC publishes a variety of white papers covering important IP topics such as prizes and patent tools, open licensing, plain packaging and international trademarks, data exclusivity, and technology transfer.

IP Rights and Broadband Development in South Korea

Over the last several years, South Korea has built a vibrant Internet and communications environment that many countries around the world view as a paragon of broadband technology. The country ranks fifth globally when it comes to broadband access, and the number of users on the peninsula continues to grow. The path Korea took to get there, however, has not been without its bumps and turns. Most notably, the lack of intellectual property (IP) rights protection in Seoul’s broadband build-out early on hampered the growth of IP-intensive industries including the motion picture, recording, business and entertainment software industries as Internet piracy skyrocketed. This has forced the government to revisit its broadband policies in an effort to address copyright infringement and other IP vulnerabilities that were—and still are in some ways—harming Korean creativity, job creation, and economic growth.

TRIPS: Floor Versus Ceiling

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, commonly referred to as the TRIPS Agreement, is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP), covering most facets of IP policy. TRIPS was negotiated through part of the Uruguay Round that established the World Trade Organization (WTO) and entered into force in 1995. The agreement provides for dispute settlement in the case of trade issues related to IP among WTO members. The WTO states that TRIPS “establishes minimum levels of protection that each government has to give to the intellectual property of fellow WTO members. …” As such, it is imperative that the TRIPS Agreement not only be preserved as the “floor” for global standards, but that the international community constantly looks to strengthen TRIPS and other agreements.

Promoting Technology Diffusion to the Developing World

The developing world faces many challenges.  Most are quite daunting; several are tragic.  Rampant disease, lack of clean water, inadequate healthcare, and food shortages are a few that top the list.  Technologies that the developed world has created can (and do) help address many of these problems.  Too often the global IP system of legal rights and obligations has been attacked by a vocal minority who paint it is an “obstacle” to progress and a “barrier” to development.  Study after study, however, has demonstrated that the opposite is true. Intellectual property protections incentivize innovation and maximize the diffusion of new technologies that lead to job growth and global advancement that fosters international development.

Open Licensing for Publicly Funded Research

As governments around the world seek to tackle urgent health care and environmental challenges by increasing public funding for research and development, some critics of the intellectual property system claim that the results of this research belong exclusively in the public domain.  These critics take issue with the current U.S. system that allows universities and companies applying or using federally funded research as a basis for further innovation or for commercializing a product to retain the patent rights with respect to that product.

Prizes and Patent Tools: Viable Alternatives to the Patent System?

At a time when new technological breakthroughs are needed to address urgent environmental and public health threats around the world, critics claim that the existing global patent system embodied in national laws and international agreements isn’t up to the challenge. These critics argue that patents are not only insufficient to drive innovation in key sectors, but they also fail to deliver new technologies at reasonable prices-particularly in the developing world. For these reasons, they say that patents should be replaced with government prizes, patent pools, or other incentive mechanisms that offer public ownership and access to new technologies and inventions. While prizes and patent pools have become useful supplements to patents in certain circumstances, limited incentives in stimulating innovation and technology diffusion make them risky alternatives for a proven intellectual property (IP) system.



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