The Development Agenda at WIPO: Where is Canada?
INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND ENVIRONMENT: CANADIAN POLICIES AND PERFORMANCE 2008-2009, Glen Toner, ed., Ch. 10, School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University, September 2007
19 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2008 Last revised: 26 Dec 2010
Date Written: September 1, 2007
What role have developed countries, and Canada in particular, played in creating a development agenda for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)? In this chapter I review the discussions at WIPO that resulted in an agreed development agenda in 2007, the positions taken on the issues addressed, and Canada's position and role within the debates. I argue that, in the initial phases of the development agenda discussions, Canada's allegiance to the group of industrialized nations had loosened somewhat, and that Canada took the position of a middle power, forming a bridge between developed and developing countries. I then argue that, in the less polarized debates that have followed, Canada and other developed countries encouraged the discussions along, allowing many of the less challenging proposals to pass, and softening more radical proposals. Developed countries as a whole have blocked or softened numerous proposals, such as those that called for major institutional changes at WIPO, proposals that encouraged too strongly the exploitation of public-interest flexibilities built in to intellectual property treaties, proposals that fell too far outside WIPO's focus on intellectual property, and proposals that called for new intellectual property treaties. Finally, I explain the positions taken by Canada from five perspectives: first, as an international political/economic strategy; second, as a domestic strategy catering to Canadian interest groups; third, as a function of traditional party politics; fourth, from the perspective of intellectual property policy directions being taken at a domestic level; and finally, as a function of conditions within the international intellectual property system.
Keywords: WIPO, intellectual property, development agenda, Canada
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