WTO Public Forum: IP Rights are Critical in the Global Economy

This past Monday, the GIPC organized and moderated a panel on “Lessons Learned from Regional and Bilateral FTAs – Assessing Economic Impacts and Whether Stronger IP Rules Stimulate Innovation” at the 2011 World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum Panel. The panel featured Alexander Koff, partner at the firm Whiteford, Taylor & Preston L.L.C and Cesar Parga, the Senior Specialist at the Department of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism at the Organization of American States (OAS).

At the panel, Mr. Koff presented the results of a recent study examining the “TRIPS-Plus” provisions of the 14 free trade agreements (FTAs) signed and implemented by the United States since the start of the WTO in 1995. Mr. Koff’s presentation highlighted the lessons learned from regional and bilateral FTAs and assessed economic impacts as well as whether stronger IPR rules stimulate innovation.  The study’s recommendations generated discussion among NGOs and government negotiators, particularly those focused on the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.

Mr. Parga provided both an overview of the current FTA environment and detailed experiences of small and medium sized innovators in the Americas who have leveraged increased IP protection in their domestic economies to increase their global competitiveness. His examples demonstrate that local companies are not threatened by an increase in intellectual property protection, but, rather, can thrive when they have access to the right tools.

The panelists’ points were also reinforced by a member of the audience from the Jordanian Mission, who pointed out how Jordan has benefited economically (particularly in their pharmaceutical sector) with the implementation of the U.S.-Jordan FTA.

Overall, the event was successful in demonstrating the positive economic and practical implications of strengthened intellectual property provisions in developing economies. It also highlighted how small and medium size entrepreneurs can take advantage of IP protections. The Global IP Center is committed to bringing entrepreneurial voices from developing economies to the forefront of the global IP discussion and increasing understanding of the role of IP rights in developing innovative economies.

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