Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Christophe Geiger
Chapter 32: The right to development: What implications for the multilateral intellectual property framework?
The human rights and intellectual property (IP) interface has been the subject of increased attention in recent years. Numerous scholarly works have sought to map it and deepen our understanding of it. Advocacy groups have invoked human rights in their drive to achieve a more balanced IP regime that is more supportive of public policy and development objectives in areas such as public health, access to knowledge and food security. However, the right to development (RTD) has been conspicuously absent from this growing interest in the human rights and IP interface. This can be, in part, explained by the contested nature of the RTD at its inception and the persistent disagreements about how to implement it. At the same time, narratives about the implementation of the RTD have also not given sufficient attention to IP as a self-standing issue and to recent developments, particularly at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). For example, a seminal collection of essays recently published by the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, in commemoration of 25 Years of the UN Declaration on the RTD, omits a separate examination of IP and WIPO while devoting specific analysis to the realization of the RTD in relation to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as thematic issues such as aid, climate change and debt relief.
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