G8 Highlights Internet, IP Rights, Innovation, WIPO27/05/2011 by William New, Intellectual Property Watch 1 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.Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialised countries today concluded their annual meeting, this year held in Deauville, France, with a communiqué bearing extensive discussion of the internet, intellectual property rights, and innovation – and a call for the World Intellectual Property Organization to step up work. In fact, it had a lot more to say about these issues than it did about the global economy or trade. The communiqué, available here, showed careful language on the sensitive issues of negative impact of heavy-handed IP rights protection on innovation and knowledge access.The call for WIPO to engage in “business-friendly” (rather than “development-friendly” perhaps) IP systems, with a focus on patents, comes at an important time for WIPO. The United Nations agency has been under pressure from developed countries whose private sectors pay most of WIPO’s revenues to step back from its recent increased focus on development. WIPO also has been hurt by plurilateral developed country negotiations, such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, held outside the multilateral context.On WIPO, the communiqué states: “We acknowledge the important role of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in developing a broad approach to intellectual property in support of business friendly, robust and efficient national intellectual property systems. Renewing our support to the principles of the patent system, we attach great importance to its promotion and development. We encourage increased international action to strengthen patent quality, and call for improved diffusion of patent information, particularly critical for SMEs and research centres. We support transparency in technology markets and call for the improvement of market places for trading rights. We invite WIPO, in close cooperation with Member States and other relevant entities, to intensify its work in these three areas. In addition we note the importance of enforcement in order to incentivise innovation and protect innovation once developed.”Meanwhile, their words for the failing World Trade Organization negotiations were not so kind.The leaders also took a pro-business stance on the internet but did acknowledge the role of different stakeholders and a “balanced” approach.“Governments, the private sector, users, and other stakeholders all have a role to play in creating an environment in which the Internet can flourish in a balanced manner,” it said. “In Deauville in 2011, for the first time at Leaders’ level, we agreed, in the presence of some leaders of the Internet economy, on a number of key principles, including freedom, respect for privacy and intellectual property, multi-stakeholder governance, cyber-security, and protection from crime, that underpin a strong and flourishing Internet.”In the internet section, the communiqué states:“With regard to the protection of intellectual property, in particular copyright, trademarks, trade secrets and patents, we recognize the need to have national laws and frameworks for improved enforcement. We are thus renewing our commitment to ensuring effective action against violations of intellectual property rights in the digital arena, including action that addresses present and future infringements. We recognize that the effective implementation of intellectual property rules requires suitable international cooperation of relevant stakeholders, including with the private sector. We are committed to identifying ways of facilitating greater access and openness to knowledge, education and culture, including by encouraging continued innovation in legal on line trade in goods and content, that are respectful of intellectual property rights.”By putting access and openness in an explicit context of IP rights, it leaves open the possibility of a tilted scale toward interpretations favouring rightsholders.The communiqué refers back to the first “eG8” meeting held earlier this week in Paris, which rendered recommnendations for the leaders (IPW, European Policy, 27 May 2011).It also mentions the importance of a multi-stakeholder in internet governance, and the upcoming Internet Governance Forum to be held in Kenya.Copyright holder industry groups hailed the outcome of the G8 meeting, in a joint press release available here.Public HealthThe leaders also gave support to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which recently endured bad press when substantial sums of donor funding were found to have been used unaccountably, and the GAVI Alliance for vaccines.In addition, they welcomed the Patent Pool Initiative launched by UNITAID “in order to facilitate the production of affordable generic medicines well-adapted for use in resource-poor settings, and we encourage the voluntary participation of patent owners, private and public, in the project.”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)RelatedWilliam New may be reached at email@example.com."G8 Highlights Internet, IP Rights, Innovation, WIPO" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.