The Paris Agreement: Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer, and Climate Change
Matthew Rimmer (Ed.), Intellectual Property and Clean Energy: The Paris Agreement and Climate Justice, Singapore: Springer, 2018, 33-67.
Posted: 24 May 2018 Last revised: 28 Oct 2018
Date Written: May 12, 2018
In the lead up to the Paris Agreement 2015, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has commented: ‘Intellectual property, technology transfer, and financing are among a wide range of topics that must be addressed in the context of climate change and sustainable development’. The Paris Climate Talks considered a number of issues related to intellectual property, technology transfer, and finance. Draft Article 56.3 laid down a number of options. The first option suggested a number of possibilities to facilitate technology transfer. Item A suggested that developed countries ‘provide financial resources to address barriers caused by intellectual property rights (IPRs) and facilitate access to and the deployment of technology, including inter alia, by utilizing the Financial Mechanism and/or the establishment of a funding window under the Green Climate Fund/the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism.’ Item B called for ‘an international mechanism on IPRs to be established to facilitate access to and the deployment of technology to [developing country Parties].’ Item C asked for other arrangements to be established to address intellectual property rights – such as ‘collaborative research and development, shareware, commitments related to humanitarian or preferential licensing, fully paid-up or joint licensing schemes, preferential rates and patent pools.’ Item D suggested that ‘funds from the Green Climate Fund will be utilized to meet the full costs of intellectual property rights (IPRs) of environmentally sound technologies and know-how and such technologies will be provided to developing country Parties free of cost in order to enhance their actions to address climate change and its adverse impacts.’ The second option was that ‘Parties recognize that IPRs create an enabling environment for the promotion of technology innovation in environmentally sound technologies.’ The third option favoured by developed countries is that ‘IPRs are not to be addressed in this agreement.’ The fourth option was for ‘Developed country Parties to make available Intellectual Property (IP) through multilateral institutions as public good, through purchase of intellectual property.’ The Paris Climate Talks saw a number of announcements on innovation – including Mission Innovation, and the International Solar Alliance. At the Paris talks, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi contended that: ‘Our innovation initiative should be driven by public purpose, not just market incentives, including on IP.’ He emphasized that: ‘We need to scale up the Green Climate Fund that will improve access to technology and intellectual property.’ For his part, US President Barack Obama flagged that he was willing to engage in a dialogue over matters of technology transfer. In the end, there was text on technology transfer in the Paris Agreement 2015 – but no substantive text on intellectual property and climate change.
Keywords: The Paris Agreement 2015, Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer, Climate Change, Green Climate Fund, Climate Finance, UNFCCC Climate Technology Centre and Network, International law, Diplomacy, Open Innovation, Commons
JEL Classification: K00, K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation