20 October 2005

Rethinking Innovation

One of the titles that attracted my attention in Geneva earlier in the week was Sisule F Musungu's
"Rethinking innovation, development and intellectual property in the UN: WIPO and beyond". I have just finished reading it and very interesting it is too.


Musungu argues for a radical overhaul of the international institutions governing innovation, development, and intellectual property in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Not the least controversial of his suggestions is the relegation of the WIPO from the lead UN agency for intellectual property to something more like its original role as the international bureau managing the implementation of the IP regime (that it so say the conventions) but leaving decisions on the shape and structure of the regime to other agencies.

He also calls for better coordination and coherence within and among developing countries. He argues that they are "currently the only ones investing in protection of the public interest in the area of innovation, development, and intellectual property" and adds that while those efforts are of immediate interest for these countries, they also constitute an important global service.

Musungu is a Kenya lawyer. At present he is in charge of the South Centre's project on IP. The South Centre is an inter-governmental organization chaired by former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. It has 49 members from Africa, Asia and South America. Intellectual property is one of several ongoing programmes of the Centre.

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