7 Mar 2013
Innovation and Development in the Age of Climate Change Adaptation: Open or Closed?
Paper read at the Second African International Economic Law Network Conference, 7-8 March 2013, Wits School of Law, Johannesburg, South Africa
In a time of rapid convergence of technologies, goods, services, hardware, software, the traditional classifications that informed past treaties fail to remove legal uncertainty, or advance welfare and innovation. As a result, we turn our attention to the role and needs of the public domain at the interface of existing intellectual property rights and new modes of creation, production and distribution of goods and services.
The concept of open culture would have it that knowledge should be spread freely and its growth should come from further developing existing works on the basis of sharing and collaboration without the shackles of intellectual property. Intellectual property clauses find their way into regional, multilateral, bilateral and free trade agreements more often than not, and can cause public discontent and incite unrest. Many of these intellectual property clauses raise the bar on protection beyond the clauses found in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In this paper we address the question of the protection and development of the public domain in service of open innovation in accord with Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in light of the Objectives (Article 7) and Principles (Article 8) set forth in TRIPS. Once areas of divergence and reinforcement between the intellectual property regime and human rights have been discussed, we will enter into options that allow for innovation and prosperity in the global south. We then conclude by discussing possible policy developments.