While climate change has dominated the discussion at the G8 meeting in Germany, the summit document includes an ambitious intellectual property agenda. There is the usual talk linking stronger IP to greater innovation and the prospect of greater international IP cooperation and enforcement (as well as an IPR Task Force), yet also noteworthy is an agenda that responds to WIPO and OECD initiatives.
On the WIPO front, there is a clear response to the emergence of the WIPO Development Agenda as the G8 is set to approve new Guidelines for Technical Assistance on IP rights protection to developing countries. This is reminscent of the early discussion around the development agenda – developing countries wanted to explore exceptions and greater flexibility, while the U.S. sought to confine the agenda to technical assistance. While the developing country vision prevailed, this has the makings of a counter response that shifts attention back to technical assistance.
The agenda also contains a rebuke to the recent OECD report on counterfeiting. Although the full report has yet to be released, business groups were unhappy that the OECD estimate of global counterfeiting was $200 billion, a far cry from the $1 trillion often claimed by those groups. The G8 statement focuses on the study with the following paragraph:
While appreciating the information contained in the OECD report estimating the economic impacts of counterfeiting and piracy in national economies and rights holders, as well as public health and safety, we will encourage the OECD to work with member states to further identify and target in its report specific areas for concrete actions.
In other words, go back to the drawing board. IP Watch has more on the G8 developments, including the implications for patent protection and access to medicines.