Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Joshua D. Sarnoff
Chapter 7: Intellectual property enforcement and global climate change
Issues lying at the intersection of intellectual property and climate change are hot. From the ongoing discussions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to the Conference on Innovation and Climate Change held by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), countries have actively explored ways to harness the intellectual property system to combat climate change and to reduce the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Notwithstanding these high profile events, intellectual property enforcement issues are rarely discussed in these fora. It would indeed be premature to discuss those issues when we still have no idea what types of international instruments will be developed to address the problems posed by climate change and what types of obligations these instruments will introduce. Nevertheless, if these instruments are to facilitate the development of meaningful policy responses, it is important that the rights they recognize be enforceable. Moreover, the drafters of instruments implicating both intellectual property and climate change could draw important lessons from the ongoing discussions of intellectual property enforcement. These discussions ranged from the development of the highly controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the equally problematic Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement to the developing countries’ demands for greater technology transfer and technical assistance through the development agendas established at WIPO, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international fora. This chapter focuses on enforcement issues lying at the intersection of intellectual property and climate change. It begins by outlining three different types of enforcement issues.