Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property
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Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property

Edited by Christophe Geiger

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Intellectual Property is a comprehensive reference work on the intersection of human rights and intellectual property law. Resulting from a field-specific expertise of over 40 scholars and professionals of world renown, the book explores the practical and doctrinal implications of human rights on intellectual property law and jurisprudence. In particular, the chapters scrutinize issues related to interactions among and between norms of different legal families, the role of human rights in development of the balanced intellectual property legal framework, standing case-law of national and regional courts and intellectual property offices reconciling overlapping rights and obligations, and identify the practical significance of different human rights for the exercise of intellectual property rights.
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Chapter 11: Mitigating the impact of intellectual property in developing countries through the implementation of human rights

Carlos M. Correa


As examined elsewhere in this book, human rights may be invoked under different circumstances to limit the impact that intellectual property rights (IPRs) may have in several fields, such as access to medicines. This chapter discusses the extent to which arguments based on human rights have been articulated with that purpose within the UN system and in developing countries. The chapter first examines some resolutions and reports adopted or produced within the UN system that directly or indirectly address IPRs from a human rights perspective. Second, it considers some examples of ‘human rights impact assessments’ (HRIAs) conducted to establish the effects of the adoption of different levels and modalities of IPRs protection. Finally, it presents a number of judicial decisions by some developing countries’ courts where human rights considerations were taken into account in addressing IPRs issues. After the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement, and particularly as a result of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa, the tension between IPRs and access to medicines became apparent. Several non-governmental organisations, academics and other institutionscautioned about the possible negative impact of the TRIPS Agreement on access to medicines, which is essential for the realisation of the right to health. In 1996, the World Health Assembly (WHA) gave a mandate to the WHO Secretariat to work on intellectual property in relation to health.

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