Presentation made by
Dr Philippe Cullet

Integrating IPRs and Development Policy


European Patent Office
Annual Member States Meeting
Panel Discussion on IPRC Report,

Prague, 12 July 2004

IPRs and development

IPRs historically introduced to foster technological development

Ongoing debates over the ‘appropriate’ level of protection to foster national technological/economic development

The TRIPS Agreement and the adoption of minimum standards by all WTO member states

Developing countries: special situation and challenges beyond economic development

Developing countries, development and IPRs

IPRs for economic development:

  • Scientific and technological development
  • Technology transfer

IPRs for sustainable development (notion, basis)

  • Sustainable development
  • Economic, environmental and social development (Johannesburg summit)

IPRs for sustainable development (examples)

  • Contribution to basic food and health needs
  • Protection of traditional knowledge through IPRs

Special situation of developing countries: differential treatment

Differential treatment in TRIPS:

  • Developing country specific: e.g. transitional arrangements: Article 65(2), Article 66
  • General flexibility: e.g. Article 7

Differential treatment elsewhere:

  • Climate change regime: different commitments (Kyoto Protocol)
  • Sustainable development treaties: Implementation aid for developing countries (e.g. Global Environment Facility)

Areas of specific interest



Traditional knoweledge

IPRs, development policy & agriculture

Development goals

  • Food security
  • Locally adapted crops
  • Agricultural-biodiversity management

Article 27.3 (b) TRIPS and plant varieties

  • Opportunity for regime adapted to local needs
  • Opportunity to take all relevant international treaties into account (farmers’ rights)

IPRs, development policy  & health

Development goals

  • Access to drugs for the most disadvantaged
  • Research in ‘orphan’ diseases
  • Domestic manufacturing

TRIPS implementation

  • Doha Declaration and General Council Decision
  • TRIPS and the human right to health

IPRs, development policy & traditional knowledge

Development issues

  • Control over ‘un-patentable’ knowledge
  • Broader property rights framework over existing and evolving knowledge


  • Benefit-sharing
  • Sui generis protection regime

Development policy & IPRs: Towards a broader framework

Special situation of developing countries.
Measures in TRIPS framework and beyond:

  • Using the flexibility provided at Articles 7 & 8 of TRIPS to foster the fulfilment of basic needs
  • Other ‘Doha Declaration’ like arrangements
  • Differential treatment measures modeled after the international law of sustainable development

IPRs and beyond: making the links with sustainable development

  • Implementation of TRIPS minimum standards in developing countries to take into account existing sustainable development legal frameworks, e.g., in the fields of agriculture, environment and health
  • Introduction of IPRs in new fields to be from the outset comprehensive frameworks
    • E.g. the protection of traditional knowledge through IPRs to include conservation aspects