Ten Years After the Doha Declaration: The Future Agenda at the Interface of Public Health, Innovation and Trade

Council Room, World Trade Organization, Geneva, November 23, 2011

Intellectual Property and Public Health: Meeting the Challenge of Sustainability

Frederick Abbott



Intellectual Property and Public Health: Meeting the Challenge of Sustainability: PowerPoint Presentation


Presentation at 5th High-Level Symposium on Global Health Diplomacy, 10 Years after the Doha Declaration: The future agenda at the interface of Public Health, Innovation and Trade: An outlook on the next ten years, Geneva, Nov. 23, 2011 

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Legal Rules and Political Realities


Panel:  How would we change the TRIPS Agreement?

Presentation at Médecins Sans Frontières’ Access Campaign
Revising TRIPS for Public Health: Can TRIPS be reformed to meet public health needs?
21st November 2011
Le Club suisse de la presse, Geneva

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Defending the Channels of Essential Goods: IP, Trade and Public Welfare

Defending the Channels of Essential Goods: IP, Trade and Public Welfare

Panel on IP as an obstacle to (legitimate) trade

Basic policies, customs regulations & goods in transit

30th Annual ATRIP Congress, Singapore, 25-27 July 2011

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IP and Innovation Policy: Paradigms for Development


Presented at

Centre for WTO Studies (New Delhi)/South Centre
New Delhi, April 28-29, 2011

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Global Trends in Intellectual Property Enforcement: Implications for India

Presented at meeting hosted by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry)

October 22, 2010

New Delhi, India

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Trends in Health Related Technology Transfer and Local Production: Initiatives and Stakeholders’ Views

Dialogues in Cape Town, South Africa; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kuala Lampur, Malaysia


(1) Asian Dialogue on Technology Transfer for Local Manufacturing Capacity of Drugs and Vaccines, Organised with the support of the World Health Organization and the European Union , 29-30 April 2010, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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(2) Latin American Dialogue on Technology Transfer for Local Manufacturing Capacity On Drugs And Vaccines, 18-19 March 2010, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Organized with the support of the World Health Organization and the European Commission

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(3) African Workshop on Technology Transfer for Local Manufacturing Capacity on Drugs and Vaccines, Organized with the support of the World Health Organization and the European Commission, 10-11 December, Cape Town, South Africa

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Innovation as Imperative to Sustainable Development: Meeting the New Challenges


Presentation at

Citenel V Congress on Technological Innovation in Electrical Energy

 June 22, 2009, Belem, Brazil

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The China Enforcement Case and Trends in International IP Protection

By Frederick M. Abbott

Presentation at Ninth Annual WTO Conference - May 20, 2009, BIICL, in cooperation with Institute of International Economic Law, Journal of International Economic Law and Society of International Economic Law


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Industrial Policy, Innovation and Economic Stress: opportunities and risks

Frederick M. Abbott

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200 years of Intellectual Property in Brazil: Seminar onIntellectual Property as an Instrument of Industrial Policy: Lessons and Challenges

Brazil Ministry of External Relations, in partnership with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Alexandre de Gusmão Foundation (FUNAG) and the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI), Brasilia, April 29-30, 2009


Global economic welfare is increasingly dependent upon rapid innovation to address critical problems of resource scarcity, climate change, security and public health. For the past decade, the preponderance of multilateral attention to innovation policy has focused on public health as threats from HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases threatened to overwhelm parts of the globe. More recently, attention has been shifting toward innovation policy to address the threats from climate change, as well as to address more general stresses on energy resources. Evidence of depletion of fisheries resources is demanding attention to marine research. Threats to global security are increasingly taking the form of technology-led incursions, while responses to security threats are increasingly high-tech. Each human era places its own unique demands on the “innovation community” and industrial policy. Yet it seems fair to suggest that since the end of the Second World War in 1945, the international community has not faced such a far-reaching combination of threats that demand technology-based solutions.

As if that were not enough, we are collectively in the midst of the most significant economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. This is not the time or place to review how this situation arose. For present purposes, it is important to note that the global financial crisis has placed enormous stresses on national governments to promote local economic stability and growth. And, a number of more economically and politically powerful national governments are choosing to promote economic growth through the adoption of stimulus plans that focus on innovation. The Chinese government, for example, has emphasized policies intended to promote scientific and technological advancement.

In many ways, Brazil and the United States share substantial opportunity in the current environment. Each is a large-economy country with resources to invest in innovation. Each is the home of industries capable of acting on a global economic stage. Though certainly there are areas of potential concern, neither is highly vulnerable to innovation as a form of protectionism or unfair trading practices. The greater concerns are for smaller economy and lesser developed countries that do not have the resources to “play in this game” and that may find themselves increasingly behind the technology curve. The adoption of “strong forms” of intellectual property will not create large pools of capital or substantial markets in these countries. As Brazil tackles the challenges of further refining its innovation policy, it will be interesting to see whether it evolves into a mercantile IP power, or forges an alternative course.

This era of global financial crisis presents risks and opportunities. The risk is that industrial policy and innovation will be used as new forms of trade protectionism. The opportunity is that massive government subsidization of technology programs will usher in a new era of security and prosperity. Policymakers must balance national and international interests carefully. For self-interested reasons, we cannot afford to leave half of the planet even further behind on the innovation curve.