Panellists Disagree About Future Of IP System, WIPO13/04/2007 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.By Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen NEW YORK – Speakers at an intellectual property conference here disagreed on the future of the IP system and what role the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will play during the next 10 years. But there seemed to be agreement on less rather than more new IP regulation.The 12-13 April conference at the Fordham University Law School is the fifteenth of its kind and one that draws high-level members of the IP community from around the world. Some sources who have attended for years said some issues have been discussed for years and never materialised, such as a single European patent and harmonisation of international patent systems.Among the predictions in a first-day session on what should and will happen in the next 10 years of IP law there did not seem to be a lot of optimism, or at least no clear predictions of major change to the current system.Fred von Lohmann, senior intellectual property counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, conjectured that at a similar conference in 2017, there would be new constituencies and new innovators. If they found that intellectual property was a hindrance to innovation, this could lead industries to tell the US Congress that norms have to change at WIPO. Lohmann said the current broadcasting treaty talks are a good example.Hannu Wager, counsellor at the World Trade Organization intellectual property division, predicted that important issues over the next 10 years would be: enforcement, competition policy, least-developed countries (e.g. time extension for implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), transfer of technology as related to LDCs, accessions of new members, and dispute settlement, noting the recent case of the US against China.Bruce Lehman of Akin, Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC, said that the future of WIPO is “very cloudy,” unless there are substantial changes in US diplomacy.”James Love of the Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) said that he thought there had been some progress at WIPO, mentioning the outcome a February negotiation on a proposed WIPO Development Agenda, which had surprised many including himself. He also praised the United States involvement in WIPO discussions on a proposed broadcasting treaty, but said that the US government had led an effort to dismantle the World Health Organization’s involvement with intellectual property, and the same was true for the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and UN Development Programme (UNDP).WIPO Deputy Director General Michael Keplinger said WIPO is guided by its member states but said that developed and developing country participants alike had agreed at a February conference on piracy and counterfeiting that this was a real problem. He also predicted that the issue of counterfeit medicines would become increasingly important.Keplinger added, stressing that he was speaking as a WIPO official and not as a US official to WIPO, that the diplomatic leadership of the United States was absolutely crucial at WIPO. Keplinger joined WIPO in autumn 2006 from the US government.Keplinger told Intellectual Property Watch that the next 10 years would most likely be a period of “guided development” for WIPO. It would likely look at best practices, model laws and guidelines, meaning soft law, rather than treaty-making, he said. Keplinger said that once the broadcasting treaty discussion finished (it is expected to be negotiated or dropped by year’s end), there would likely not be other copyright treaties. Rather, WIPO would work to improve its existing services, such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty.As for the Development Agenda, Keplinger said that it had made WIPO think about the work it does in this area. He said WIPO is now doing a better job to “communicate what we do, especially in the area of development.”Another source who wished to remain anonymous asserted to Intellectual Property Watch that WIPO’s top leadership lacks vision for the future, emphasising the need for maintaining and developing regional IP systems. Another source asked why Latin America and Asia, for example, do not have regional IP systems.Also discussed on 12 April were the next 10 years of trademarks, patents and copyrights. Highlights from the 13 April programme include sessions on IP and human rights, the WIPO broadcasting treaty, trade and the Thailand’s use of compulsory license, and TRIPS and China with Victoria Espinel, assistant US Trade Representative for intellectual property and innovation, speaking. Tove Gerhardsen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"Panellists Disagree About Future Of IP System, WIPO" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.