Overcoming the Impasse on Intellectual Property and Climate Change at the UNFCCC: A Way Forward
International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)
Keith E. Maskus
University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
University of Minnesota Law School
Jerome H. Reichman
Duke University - School of Law
affiliation not provided to SSRN
November 28, 2011
Intellectual property rights have traditionally been the primary policy mechanism for encouraging private investments in innovation, including for the production of mitigation and adaptation technologies. Yet while global climate change negotiations have made some progress in the area of technology transfer, as reflected in last year’s agreement in Cancun to establish a Technology Mechanism under the UNFCCC, the role of intellectual property rights has remained a particularly divisive issue. Not only has no agreement been reached in this area, but even the path to a constructive and meaningful discussion seems elusive. Unless the role of intellectual property is addressed in a constructive and balanced manner, the potential for achieving sustainable and realistic outcomes from the climate talks could be compromised.
In this policy brief, we seek to untangle the issues that lie behind this impasse. We also suggest a possible course for action that, while taking into account a diversity of perspectives, also challenges countries – and other stakeholders – to go beyond entrenched negotiating positions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 9
Keywords: Climate Change, Intellectual Property Rights, UNFCCC, Mitigation and Adaptation Technologies, Technology Transfer
JEL Classification: O34working papers series
Date posted: August 2, 2012
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