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5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

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    WIPO’s Gurry Says ‘Crisis In Multilateralism’ Bringing Changes To IP

    Published on 17 December 2010 @ 12:42 am

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

    The rapid pace of technology and dramatic shifts in the global economy will bring change to the multilateral structure set up after the Second World War, and these changes will affect the intellectual property system, World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry said this week.

    Often seen as a rather technical body, Gurry’s remarks are reminiscent that WIPO is part of the larger global UN system.

    In an interview, video available here, ahead of a 15 December speech at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Gurry said “our capacity as an international community” to reach agreements is reduced, much slower than the pace of change. There is a “crisis in multilateralism,” he said, leading states to look for other opportunities such as bilateral, regional, plurilateral and other types of agreements.

    In addition, there is a substantive shift in patent filing reflecting shifts in global economic position. The top five patent filers last year were: the United States, Japan, Germany, Korea and China (which passed countries like France and United Kingdom). India and Brazil also are rising.

    The global political architecture is “out of kilter” with economic reality, where a structure of developed and developing countries is too simplistic. And there will be a process of slowly bringing the political architecture into line with these realities, he said.

    Gurry gave an example of the role of multilateral institutions. Current mobile phones contain more than 5,000 patents, belonging to more than 50 entities. Yet consumers expect it to work when they step off a plane anywhere. “That is the role of the multilateral,” he said.

    “We had one patent system for everything from agricultural machinery to molecular biology,” he said. But as the component of knowledge in production expands and becomes more economically valuable, “we will see a more sophisticated system of knowledge rights emerge,” he said. “I think that’s inevitable.”

    The “trick” will be how to maintain differentiation, he said, where certain economic outcomes are desired such as providing incentives to innovation with a simple system.

    Gurry gave the example of longstanding patent reform efforts in the United States. There, the information technology industry said that it should not be possible to get an injunction as a remedy for violation of a patent, as it could bring down a whole series of related technologies, making it too powerful an instrument. Conversely, the pharmaceutical industry said that injunctions are the essence of their competitiveness.

    “Maybe they were both right,” he said. And so sectoral differentiation may be needed help achieve all goals.

    Communication Problems and New Models

    Gurry’s view on intellectual property rights protection is that in the short term, society pays a price to ensure payment for inventors and creators in order to obtain a long-term gain for society.

    “We always have a communication problem with intellectual property,” he said, getting people to understand that need for incentives. “Intellectual property is all about balance,” he added. But knowledge also needs to be shared and the balance may not be quite right at this point, he said.

    Meanwhile, changes need to occur in how the multilateral level functions. In the past, Gurry said, the treaty was the “sacred approach.” But they can take perhaps five years to negotiate and another 10-20 years for implementation at the national level.

    Technology and business models evolve much faster than multilateral processes for reaching agreement, he said, noting that while nations deliberate over one policy, they are “watching the world disappear in the distance at a speed that is much, much, much faster.” National governments face similar problems. They are trying legislate for a moving target.

    “One of things the world is telling us is that platforms can be much more important than treaties,” he said, offering Twitter, Facebook and other social media as examples. “Could you have brought social change as they have by a treaty? No.” he said. So the world is seeing public-private partnerships using platforms to bring policy outcomes that once were achieved by treaty.

    William New may be reached at wnew@ip-watch.ch.

     

    Comments

    1. Freedom says:

      Multilateralism is dying a slow death due to a large number of UN officials and country representatives all becoming celebrities. Negotiating fora became more about personal ideologies, or better, personal advancement. In the realm of IP, it is now about a personality, his contribution to the reformed IP landscape, and about lack of faith and trust in many of the personalities purported to be neutral. The Wikileaks cable on the UN system testifies to this: read cables published in the guardian at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/series/us-embassy-cables-the-documents+unitednations, especially cable http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/219058. Also, IP-watch was/is partially part of the problem. The articles are starting to read as one-sided.

    2. US Ambassador: Over-Focus On Development “Will Kill” WIPO | Intellectual Property Watch says:

      [...] “The frustration with the lengthy negotiations and the length of those negotiations over matters that we should be able to resolve have been hung up, as you know, for a very long time,” she said, adding that to the level of its director, WIPO is aware that people who seek patent protection may find ways around WIPO. The director general of WIPO, Francis Gurry, signalled that he got the message this week (IPW, WIPO, 16 December 2010). [...]


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

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