Legal Certainty Necessary for Continued Innovation at Home and Abroad


By Aaron Smethurst

One of the challenges we face in communicating on intellectual property (IP) issues is how to demonstrate the effects that changes in IP law can have on the innovation environment. Last week in Geneva, the GIPC, with the help of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) and legal practitioners from Brazil and India, set out to do just that.

On Tuesday, April 23, the GIPC hosted an event on the sidelines of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) meeting on the need for greater legal certainty for IP in order to further innovative research and development in the future. The panelists presented the delegates with their experiences on the ways in which a disclosure requirement had been implemented in their respective countries. They further elaborated on how such a requirement affected scientific research in their respective countries.

The bottom line they delivered was this: having transparent, non-discriminatory IP rules in place is critical to fostering innovation and to delivering innovative solutions to global challenges both now and in the future. The panelists encouraged the IGC negotiators to consider the effect that a global instrument on genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge may have on innovation.

The event was attended by roughly 60 participants, who noted that the discussion helped to provide context and practical experiences to the IGC discussion.

We look forward to continuing to engage with our colleagues in Geneva in the future, so keep your eyes open for our next event focused on “Frugal Innovation” on the sidelines of the World Trade Organization (WTO) TRIPS Council in mid-June. Want to find out more? Subscribe to

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