This sixth in an annual series jointly convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization will run over the next two weeks, with 20 officials from developing countries.
The initiative for the course lies in the growing demand within developing countries for enhanced awareness of international intellectual property issues, and to consolidate the policy skills required to analyse and engage with these developments.
This advanced course is at the highest level of capacity building in the WTO’s set of programmes, as part of the organization’s progressive learning strategy. It brings together officials who already have a strong background in intellectual property and related policy areas and who seek to consolidate and extend their knowledge and skills. The course, which also conforms with the mandate of the WIPO Academy, provides education and training in intellectual property.
The course aims to update government officials on the activities and instruments of WIPO and the WTO and on other multilateral developments, and to enable them to exchange information and ideas with the two Secretariats and with a range of policymakers and organizations based in Geneva.
It forms part of an overall strategy to build sufficient capacity within the governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, to assess and analyse their policy options and to strengthen national expertise in relation to intellectual property. It is designed to equip the participants with the necessary tools to help formulate policies that will facilitate the development process in their respective countries.
Participants and topics
The program builds the skills and awareness to enable participants to work together with other stakeholders in their constituencies to adapt, develop and harness IP systems to promote national economic and development goals.
Twenty participants were selected from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, and their participation was financed by WIPO and WTO. Two additional officials from developed countries were also selected.
Together, they are from: Armenia, Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Laos, Malawi, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda.
The course combines expert presentations, discussion sessions, panel deliberations, and practical exercises. The subject matter covers:
- the law, policy and development dimensions of intellectual property (IP)
- the different international treaties and conventions governing intellectual property, and the development of bilateral and regional standards
- IP and its relation to economic development, international trade, public health (particularly with respect to access to medicines), climate change, biodiversity, and competition policy
- the current international landscapes in copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications and patents
- the WTO Dispute Settlement System and Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement
- intellectual property enforcement
- traditional knowledge and folklore
Learning from diverse experts
A key feature of the program is the diversity of stakeholder perspectives made available to participants. They will hear from national delegates dealing with different intellectual property issues in Geneva, and experts from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), Médecins sans Frontières, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), and Reuteler & Cie SA.
Participants will also undertake a study tour to Nestlé’s Cailler chocolate factory in Broc in Western Switzerland, where intellectual property experts will share that company’s experience in the field, in particular on patents and trademarks.
Interactivity is a major element of this course. Several practical exercises are organized throughout the two weeks and participants are encouraged to interact actively with the two Secretariats, as well as among themselves, both on the substance of the course and to share national experiences. At the end of the course, they will be strongly encouraged to continue their partnership with WIPO and WTO.
This course exemplifies efforts to intensify cooperation and coherence between international organizations. The WTO’s collaboration with WIPO, and other international organizations such as WHO and UNCTAD, has made it possible to put together courses such as this one, and enriched their content and the breadth of policy expertise provided.
This collaboration has also enabled these organizations to work together and identify policy space needed to promote the balance between innovation and access to medical technologies in the context of the 2001 Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health .