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Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) – Another Untested Hurdle in Copenhagen

Author(s): Marianne Levin

Journal: Nordisk Miljörättslig Tidskrift
ISSN 2000-4273

Volume: 2010;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 131;
Date: 2010;

Keywords: climate change | intellectual property law | developing countries

Among the emerging issues concerning longer-term intellectual property (IP) developments belongs the relationship between IP rights and environmental degradation. Looking back at the relations between IP and possible transfers of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs), indeed not very much has been said about IP in the climate context – until recently, before the COP 15 in Copenhagen 2009, where many and strong arguments were put forward from developing countries to limit the patentability of climate-related patents and to open up the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspect of Intellectual Property rights (TRIPS). There may be good reasons for opening up TRIPS, but this is not so easy, and it is doubtful whether the negotiations on climate change are the right forum. TRIPS says little about environmental concerns. Thus, any agreement on IP and climate change seems to be better placed in the UN than in the WTO, which does not contradict future cooperation on related matters.
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