Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Competition

Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Competition

Access to Essential Innovation and Technology

Abbe E.L. Brown

This detailed book explores the relationship between intellectual property, competition and human rights. It considers the extent to which they can and must be combined by decision makers, and how this approach can foster innovation in key areas for society – such as pharmaceutical drugs, communications software and technology to combat climate change.

Chapter 7: Wider perspectives

Abbe E.L. Brown

Subjects: development studies, law and development, law - academic, competition and antitrust law, human rights, intellectual property law, law and development, politics and public policy, human rights


Chapters 5 and 6 presented means whereby greater access can be delivered to essential technologies by creating new opportunities for private entities (access seekers) as against private entities (IP owners), to avoid infringement actions and require more licensing; it is also clear that frequently the IP owner will still prevail. To what extent are the proposals made consistent with the existing responsibilities of states? And can a wider use be made of the interface between IP, competition and human rights in the international policy space, to bring out greater access opportunities for those who are not involved in a dispute or investigation? As discussed in Chapters 1 and 3, the enforcement systems applicable to states which are of interest to this book, and have the most practical impact in terms of procedural opportunity, are those provided by the ECtHR and the WTO dispute settlement system. It is interesting to note that both these fora provide means for others to make submissions,1 echoing the opportunities identified at national level and in the ECJ2 for decision makers to look more widely than the interests of the parties to the dispute. A finding that a state has acted inconsistently with its obligations under TRIPS can lead to sanctions relating to IP or other trade issues.3 Further, if it can be argued that the proposals made in Chapters 5 and 6 are inconsistent with obligations under TRIPS and the ECHR, national courts and EU institutions

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