Overcoming the Impasse on Intellectual Property and Climate Change at the UNFCCC: A Way Forward

9 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2012

See all articles by Ahmed Abdel-Latif

Ahmed Abdel-Latif

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)

Ruth Okediji

Harvard Law School

Jerome H. Reichman

Duke University School of Law

Pedro Roffe

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: November 28, 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Climate Change, Intellectual Property Rights, UNFCCC, Mitigation and Adaptation Technologies, Technology Transfer

JEL Classification: O34

Suggested Citation

Abdel-Latif, Ahmed and Maskus, Keith E. and Okediji, Ruth and Reichman, Jerome H. and Roffe, Pedro, Overcoming the Impasse on Intellectual Property and Climate Change at the UNFCCC: A Way Forward (November 28, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2121453 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2121453

Ahmed Abdel-Latif (Contact Author)

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) ( email )

International Environmental House 2
Chemin de Balexert 7
Chatelaine, Geneva, GE 1219
Switzerland

Keith E. Maskus

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-492-7588 (Phone)
303-492-8960 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Ruth Okediji

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jerome H. Reichman

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Pedro Roffe

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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