Access Versus Incentives: Analysing Intellectual Property Policies in Four UN Specialized Agencies by Emphasizing the Role of the World Intellectual Property Organization and Human Rights
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Concerns have been expressed over the role of WIPO in influencing the intellectual property policies of other specialized agencies of the United Nations. This article reviews the policies of FAO, WHO and UNESCO, in addition to WIPO itself, and finds very interesting patterns of cooperation. While intellectual property law is primarily concerned with providing incentives for the production of new, creative and applicable arts and knowledge, human rights law is primarily concerned with providing improved access to goods crucial for human well-being and survival. WIPO itself has expressed in some of its documents concerns of the issue of access, and has shown some understanding of human rights concerns in this regard. While UNESCO has paid less attention to intellectual property rights over the last decades, rather emphasizing cultural preservation, both FAO and WHO has increased their focus on intellectual property rights. The two latter increase their cooperation with WIPO, but without a formal agreement with WIPO. The article finds that WIPO, as a specialized agency, has to cooperate with specialized agencies, and there is no reason to believe that the cooperation will be in the form of a ‘one-way’ process in which WIPO instructs the other agencies. At the same time, if the emphasis on incentives in effect undermines the real access to the crucial goods, a new balance has to be found.
JournalThe Journal of World Intellectual Property
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