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The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Technology Transfer

As foreseen in the programme of work on technology transfer and scientific and technological cooperation, the CBD Secretariat, in cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), prepared a technical study on the role of intellectual property rights in technology transfer under the CBD. The technical study was submitted to the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, in May 2008, for its consideration.

The study provides a succinct review of the different impacts, and the associated benefits and costs, of intellectual property rights that may arise during the different phases of technology transfer under the Convention, that is, at the stage of technology development, when identifying transfer opportunities, during the actual transfer, and during the phase of adapting the transferred technology to local needs and conditions. The study draws a number conclusions, both of a general nature and applying to the individual phases considered, and also identifies potential options to increase synergy and overcome barriers to technology transfer and cooperation. A number of these options were subsequently reflected in the strategy for practical implementation of the programme of work on technology transfer and scientific and technological cooperation.

The conference of the Parties at its ninth meeting noted with appreciation the cooperation of UNCTAD and WIPO in the preparation of the study and, recalling Article 16 paragraphs 2, 3 and 5 of the Convention, invited relevant international organizations and initiatives, research institutions at all levels, and non-governmental organizations, to undertake further research on the role of intellectual property rights in technology transfer in the context of the Convention, such as:

  1. More in-depth analysis of new open-source-based modes of innovation, as well as other additional options to intellectual property rights;
  2. More empirical studies on the extent of use of patent data information in research and development in different sectors;
  3. Further empirical analysis on the scope and extent of patent clustering on technologies and other associated biological materials that are necessary inputs to desired technology development processes and on how prospective technology users in developing countries cope with patent clustering;
  4. Further examination by relevant international organizations of the overall trends in the application of the flexibilities provided by the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme