Monday, April 26, 2010

Egypt Coordinates Intellectual Property Group Among Developing Nations

Intellectual property (IP) is undoubtedly controlled by rich nations in sectors such as technology, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals, primarly through use of patenting rights. Today, eighteen developing nations banded together to ensure that their interests are represented in the United Nations Intellectual Property body as well.

They are looking to transform the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to focus more of their efforts on assisting poorer nations achieve development goals under the current IP system.

Today, one of the most crucial debates surrounding intellectual property is the patents on vaccines and retro-viral medications. Thousands of people in developing countries are barred access to these drugs because of their inability to pay the high-prices.

Despite discounts and private funding given to developing regions, the patents on many medications still makes them widely inaccessible. This development of a coordinating body among nations is meant to regulate and possibly change the system dictating intellectual property, and also to ensure that the WIPO’s adoption of the Development Agenda in 2007 takes actual effect in future legislation.

Besides Egypt, the group comprises Algeria, Brazil, Cuba, Djibouti, Ecuador, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uruguay and Yemen.

-Michelle Leung

Source: Reuters