Intellectual Property in Today’s Global Challenges

UNITAR partnering with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for a training seminar on intellectual property
 
In today’s increasingly knowledge-based society, ideas have become a key factor in capital generation and development. Their critical value has given rise to the concept of intellectual property, referred to as “creations of mind”, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, and names and designs used in commerce. With intellectual property issues coming to the fore in international negotiations dealing with climate change, food security and other global challenges, understanding their basic principles has become a prerequisite for all levels of diplomats. To help them get a firm grasp of intellectual property and its major issues of contention, UNITAR offers a comprehensive training seminar to diplomats in New York. 
 
While intellectual property rights have helped to promote rule of law and innovation, they have widened the technological gap between developed and developing countries.  At the recent Global Colloquium of University Presidents (January 2010), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted the importance of intellectual property rights, with the caveat that “we must strike a careful balance between providing incentives for innovation and providing access to necessary technologies… A lack of access to new technologies can be deadly”.
 
The Secretary-General also observed that intellectual property rights often pose “a sticking point in international negotiations on knowledge-sharing and technology transfer”, necessitating strategic analysis and win-win approaches to ensure that intellectual property rights are used to benefit both individual creators and the international community at large.
 
Since the establishment of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 1967 and the 1995 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO), many countries have established laws and policies to enforce intellectual property rights. These are legal rights granted by governments to encourage creativity and innovation by ensuring that creators reap the economic benefits of their creations. For example, in the face of a serious brain drain among its best engineers and computer scientists, the Indian Parliament passed a law in 1999 to protect their creations and thus paved the way for a thriving high-tech industry.
 
In an effort to enhance delegates’ understanding of intellectual property, UNITAR organizes an annual two-day seminar on this topic in collaboration with WIPO for the diplomatic community at United Nations Headquarters in New York. For more information, please click here.
 
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