World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
  • Name: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
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Keywords: Security (2 hits),

Full Submission


October 31, 2011


This input has been prepared with reference to the letter from the UNCSD Co-Chairs conveying the invitation from the UNCSD 2nd Preparatory Committee ?to provide ?inputs and contributions by 1 November 2011 for inclusion in a compilation document to serve as a basis for the preparation of zero draft of the outcome document? and the ?Co-Chair?s Guidance Note on Inputs for the Compilation Document? that notes that the Conference ?will result in a focused political document?. WIPO?s input is focused on those issues of direct relevance to its mandate1 as related to the objectives and theme of the Conference; namely, promoting innovation and facilitating the transfer of technology to developing countries to support the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

History shows that society turns to technology -the application of science to the solution of practical problems -as one of the principal means for dealing with challenges confronting societies. The intellectual property (IP) system contributed to the development of industry-based economies and underpinned the process of globalization. Sustainable development (based on the three pillars of economic development, social development and environmental protection) continues to be one of the main challenges that the international community faces. Policies that stimulate innovation and the creation and diffusion of technologies to address this challenge will be key in considering how the global community responds.

In addressing two major policy objectives, namely: (i) encouraging investment in the creation of sustainable development related technologies, including environment-friendly technologies, and (ii) contributing to the rapid dissemination of those technologies; the IP system, and in particular patents, are fundamental in that they provide a stimulus for investment in innovation and contribute to a rapid -and global -diffusion of new technologies


Agreement between the United Nations and the World Intellectual Property Organization

?Article 1 Recognition

The United Nations recognizes the World Intellectual Property Organization (hereinafter called the " Organization ") as a specialized agency and as being responsible for taking appropriate action in accordance with its basic instrument, treaties and agreements administered by it, inter alia, for promoting creative intellectual activity and for facilitating the transfer of technology related to industrial property to the developing countries in order to accelerate economic, social and cultural development, subject to the competence and responsibilities of the United Nations and its organs, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, as well as of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and of other agencies within the United Nations system.

?Article 10 Transfer of Technology

The Organization agrees to co-operate within the field of its competence with the United Nations and its organs, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, as well as the agencies within the United Nations system, in promoting and facilitating the transfer of technology to developing countries in such a manner as to assist these countries in attaining their objectives in the fields of science and technology and trade and development.?

and knowledge, and since all patents are published, the patent system also provides the most comprehensive public repository of information on all technologies. It reveals knowledge that already exists, which helps to develop new technologies, and it helps identify technologies that are not protected and thus freely available. WIPO?s activities in cooperation with its Member States, IGOs, NGOs and other stakeholders help ensure that the IP system serves as an effective instrument to create and disseminate technologies which, for example, may reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance water management or allow society to benefit from genetic resources in a fair manner.

Conference Objective

To secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.

The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (1992) enshrines in Principle 9 the importance of endogenous capacity building in scientific and technological knowledge and in enhancing the development, adaptation, diffusion and transfer of technologies. This principle is further echoed in the outcomes and documents of the major summits on sustainable development, including the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) provides an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved to date, to renew political commitment to help meet the environmentally sound technology needs of developing countries and to agree upon and put in place practical, measureable and actionable steps which strengthen existing actions to address disparities in the development and dissemination of environmentally sound technologies.

Furthermore, Rio Principle 22, recognizes the vital role of indigenous people and local communities in environmental management and development. This is reaffirmed in the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Plan of Implementation of the WSSD (paragraph 44(p)) which encourages successful conclusion of the existing processes under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Folklore. The Rio+20 Outcome Document should take note of the further progress achieved in this process and the decision by WIPO Member States in September 2011 to expedite ongoing negotiations on an international legal instrument or instruments for the protection of TK and traditional cultural expressions, and to regulate the interface between intellectual property and genetic resources. In September 2012, Member States will decide on convening a Diplomatic Conference.

Conference Themes

THEME A. Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication: views regarding how green economy can be a means to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions, and poverty eradication; what is its potential added value; experience to date, including what has worked and how to build upon success, what are the challenges and opportunities and how to address the challenges and seize opportunities, and possible elements of an agreement in outcome document on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication

A transformation to a green economy requires a shift from the current technological base to the widespread use of environmentally sound technologies in a manner, which supports economic, social and environmental development. This shift to a new technology base requires policies that incentivize investments in the research and development of new environmentally sound technologies and which support the transfer, adaptation and widespread dissemination of these technologies. A critical component of this new technology base is the need to respond to increased demand for energy. With expectations of global demand for energy set to double by 2030, replacing existing fossil fuel based sources of energy with renewable technologies, such as wind power, biomass, solar, geothermal and wave, will be the one of the main challenges facing the transformation to a green economy.

Rio+20 can scale up efforts to support the transfer of environmentally sound technologies by:

(i) Recognizing that a rich body of scientific and technological information exists in the global technology databases managed by WIPO, that can support innovation and the search for green technology solutions and by building on existing efforts to support access to this information and to the technology analysis and reports accompanying it, which enables informed technology choices to be made and which helps promote the development of technology partnerships. This information can also contribute to more detailed and actionable technology needs assessments;

(ii) Supporting successful long term technology partnerships, in particular public-private partnerships, which acknowledge that the successful transfer, adaptation and widespread dissemination of technologies requires a systems approach to technologies incorporating intellectual property, know-how, procedures, goods and services, and equipment as well as organizational and managerial skills. (Agenda 21, Chapter 34, paragraphs 3, 4);

(iii) Improving and ensuring greater coordination in the delivery of human capacity building and technical assistance to support the development of science, technology and innovation infrastructure and technology management (including intellectual property management) in developing countries; and,

(iv) Supporting efforts to increase the empirical evidence base on the relationship between policy tools, including intellectual property rights, and the transfer of technologies, to support better informed policy making by decision-makers.

THEME B. Institutional framework for sustainable development: Priorities and proposals for strengthening individual pillars of sustainable development, as well as those for strengthening integration of the three pillars, at multiple levels ? local, national, regional and international

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, Johannesburg, 2002) agreed in the Plan of Implementation (Paragraph 44 (p)) to:

?Encourage successful conclusion of existing processes under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, TK and Folklore of the World Intellectual Property Organization, and in the ad hoc open-ended working group on article 8 (j) and related provisions of the Convention (CBD);?

The Rio+20 Outcome Document should take note of the further progress achieved in this process and the decision by WIPO Member States in September 2011 to expedite ongoing negotiations on an international legal instrument or instruments for the protection of TK and traditional cultural expressions, and to regulate the interface between intellectual property and genetic resources. In September 2012, Member States will decide on convening a Diplomatic Conference.

Annex I provides information on existing initiatives being undertaken by WIPO which are relevant to the themes of Rio+20.



The following Annex provides a brief summary of the programmes and activities undertaken by WIPO relevant to Rio+20 and which support the implementation of Agenda 21 (1992) and the WSSD Plan of Implementation (2002).


WIPO?s global technology databases, infrastructure and support services make a major contribution to ensuring access, particularly for developing countries and least developed countries, to scientific and technological information, including state of the art technologies (Agenda 21, Chapter 34, paragraph 14a).

The patent system aims to encourage innovation and economic growth by: protecting creativity and rewarding investments made in developing a new invention; and by publishing and disclosing technical information related to new inventions. Access to technology information, contained in patent applications, has expanded rapidly in recent years, a result of the increasing availability of technical documents in digital format and the progressive development of electronic means of distribution and retrieval. As the quantities of technology information available to the public have grown, so too have the challenges of finding relevant information from which useful knowledge can be extracted. WIPO offers a number of services to facilitate easy access to this information, as well as technology analysis and reports, and services to make use of this information to support innovation and technology transfer.

Patent information is an important resource for researchers and inventors, entrepreneurs and commercial enterprises, and patent professionals. Patent information comprises all information which has either been published in a patent document or can be derived from analyzing patent filing statistics and includes: technical information from the description and drawings of the invention; legal information from the patent claims defining the scope of the patent and from its legal status; business-relevant information from reference data identifying the inventor, date of filing, country of origin, etc.; public policy-relevant information from an analysis of filing trends to be used by policymakers, e.g., in national industrial policy strategy. Patent information can assist users to: avoid duplicating research and development effort; determine the patentability of their inventions; avoid infringing other inventors? patents; estimate the value of their or other inventors? patents; exploit technology from patent applications that have never been granted, are not valid in certain countries, or from patents that are no longer in force; gain intelligence on the innovative activities and future direction of business competitors; improve planning for business decisions such as licensing, technology partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions; and, identify key trends in specific technical fields of public interest such as those relating to the environment and provide a foundation for policy planning.


The PATENTSCOPE® search service provides free access to the technology contained in over 8 million patent documents. A figure that that will increase to 12 million by the end of 2011. The main features of PATENTSCOPE® include: full-text search facilities, permitting the contents of the whole document ? and not just bibliographic data or abstracts -to be searched; status information and file contents; graphical analysis of search results; cross lingual search and Machine Translation -allowing to search collections in foreign languages not understood by the user -and RSS feeds to help track technology developments in specific areas.

Patent Landscape Reports

Patent landscape reports research and describe the patent situation for a specific technology in a given country, region or on the global level. Patent landscape reports therefore usually start with a state-of-the-art search for the technology of interest in suitable patent databases. In a second step, the results of the search are analyzed to answer specific questions, e.g. to identify certain patterns of patenting activity (Who is doing what? What is filed where?) or certain patterns of innovation (innovation trends, diversity of solutions for a technical problem, collaborations). An essential component of each patent landscape report is the visualization of these results in order to facilitate their understanding and certain conclusions or recommendations based on the empirical evidence provided by the search and analysis. Patent landscapes can therefore be useful for policy discussions, strategic research planning or technology transfer. However, they provide only a snapshot of the patenting situation at a certain point in time. In a wider sense, some patent landscapes reports may analyze the validity of patents by referring to legal status data, and thereby form a basis, e.g., for freedom to operate analysis.

IPC Green

All patents are systematically classified according to their specific technical field. Though various national classification systems exist, the International Patent Classification (IPC) system is a common system shared by all patent offices. The ?IPC Green Inventory? was developed by the IPC Committee of Experts in order to facilitate searches for patent information relating to Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs), as listed by the UNFCCC.

Access to Specialized Patent Information for Developing Countries (ASPI)

The Access to Specialized Patent Information (ASPI) program was launched by WIPO in 2010 in cooperation with its partners LexisNexis, Minesoft, ProQuest, Questel, Thomson Reuters, and WIPS and provides thousands of institutions in developing countries the opportunity to access powerful tools and services for retrieving and analyzing patent data available in commercial patent databases. ASPI partners have agreed to provide low-cost access to their premier patent information products for patent offices as well as academic and research institutions in many developing countries and free access to offices and institutions located in least developed countries.

The ASPI program complements the activities being carried out within the framework of the Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) program -see below -as well as the patent search and analysis tools provided by PATENTSCOPE®.

Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) program

The Access to Research for Development and Innovation (ARDI) program is coordinated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) together with its partners in the publishing industry with the aim to increase the availability of scientific and technical information in developing countries.

By improving access to scholarly literature from diverse fields of science and technology, with a particular focus on applied science and technology, the ARDI program seeks to: reinforce the capacity of developing countries to participate in the global knowledge economy; and, support researchers in developing countries in creating and developing new solutions to technical challenges faced on a local and global level. Access to scholarly literature is critical to the innovation process, as it represents an important source of scientific and technical knowledge and thus complements the information contained in patent documents. The ARDI program was launched in 2009. It was developed together with 12 major scientific and technical publishers.

In October 2011, ARDI joined the Research4Life partnership. Research4Life is a public-private partnership between the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), Cornell University, Yale University and several technical partners including Microsoft. The partnership?s goal is to contribute to the attainment of the UN's Millennium Development Goals, reducing the knowledge gap between industrialized countries and developing countries by providing affordable access to critical scientific research. Since 2002, the Research4Life programmes have provided researchers at more than 5,000 institutions in 105 developing countries with free or low-cost access to over 8,000 leading journals in the fields of health, agriculture, and environment.

Technology and Innovation Support Centers -TISCs

Technology and Innovation Support Centers (TISCs) are designed to provide innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high quality technology information services and other related services. Within the context of a joint engagement with national and regional industrial property authorities, WIPO supports the effective operation of TISCs by: facilitating access to patent databases and other scientific and technology resources; training local users through on-site and distance learning; providing information and training materials; supporting awareness-raising activities; and disseminating best practices and experiences among TISCs. Support services are provided by trained local staff and designed to promote access and effective use of valuable sources of technical and commercial information, such as patent information, scientific and technical journals, trademark and industrial design information, etc.


WIPO Green

WIPO Green is a technology marketplace which responds to the wide recognition that green technologies can significantly contribute to worldwide efforts towards achieving a low-carbon economy. Its key objectives are the accelerated adaptation, adoption and deployment of environmental technologies, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies. WIPO Green provides access to a broad range of technological solutions, in particular those that are less polluting, use resources in a more sustainable manner, recycle more of their waste products, or that handle residual waste in a more acceptable manner.

In order to mitigate the impact of and adapt to climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) calls for all parties to promote and cooperate in the development, application and diffusion -including transfer -of environmentally sound technologies. WIPO Green aims to support and operate in conjunction with the UNFCCC Technology Mechanism and more specifically the Climate Technology Center and Network.

The aim of WIPO Green is to act as a trustworthy focal point where prospective users can obtain relevant worldwide information and learn about new technologies in specific areas; provide expanded technology options for users in their search for solutions; offer easy access to technology, technical assistance, as well as licensing and financial support; provide reputational benefits for companies proactively engaged in promoting the uptake and diffusion of green technologies; create opportunities to enter new markets and to reach out to potential global partners, serve as a reliable entry point, through WIPO and other intergovernmental and non-governmental partners, into the UNFCCC process, specifically the Climate Technology Center and Network.

WIPO Green enables owners of proprietary technologies to make selected technologies and solutions available as packages, including related know-how, services and materials and facilitates the matching of specific user-formulated needs with technology providers. In addition, it provides additional services, including training, consulting, tailor-made dispute resolution and assistance in getting financial support and acts as a hub connecting various critical partners, with WIPO facilitating policy dialogue and networking.


Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are indispensable tools for addressing high priority sustainable development challenges (e.g. food Security, job creation, clean energy, etc.). Experience suggests that building appropriate STI systems tailored to achieving each country?s priority economic and social development objectives as well as environment related challenges is the surest way to generate medium and long term sustainable progress. Intellectual property is not an end in itself, but a useful policy tool for achieving those goals, in particular when well integrated into national development plans (UNDAFs) or country Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.

WIPO provides assistance, upon request, in the systematic assessment of the needs of developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) in effectively using IP for development, taking into account their broader development goals as reflected in national development plans. Based on the needs assessment, WIPO supports the development and implementation of country-owned and tailored National IP and Innovation Strategies aimed at addressing their technical assistance and capacity building specific needs in a comprehensive and coherent way. This may include the establishment or enhancement of policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks, the institutional and technical infrastructure and the human resource capabilities that can support countries when strengthening their S&T system and domestic innovation capacities with the support of the IP system, in order to produce and disseminate solutions adapted to their own health, food and agriculture, housing, energy, environmental and other sustainable development needs.

IP encourages innovation by providing the means to generate a commercial return on investment in the development of new technologies, including those needed to address sustainable development goals; and it gives inventors, universities, research institutions and companies the confidence to license their proprietary inventions and technologies for use or further development where they are most needed.

Recipients of technology transfer must be able to negotiate, structure and implement technology (including associated know-how) transfer agreements as a first step in absorbing and/or adapting technologies needed for national sustainable development goals. WIPO provides capacity building to support its Member States in order for them to acquire the necessary IP management-related skills to deal with successful (?in? and ?out?) flows of knowledge and technologies that can contribute to sustainable development (for example, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions), including in the areas of:

- Training and practical tools to develop capacity in IP assets management, protection and commercialization, including, inter alia, patent drafting, negotiation of agreements relating to licensing and technology transfer, and patent valuation and marketing

- Technical assistance, guidance and advice on how to establish or improve organizational or legal infrastructures necessary for efficient technology transfer including, inter alia, the development of institutional IP policies and national innovation strategies, as well as in the development of projects supporting the establishment and management of technology transfer offices (TTO) and IP hubs in universities and research institutions;

- Technical assistance to developing countries and countries in transition in relation to IP legislation, IP-related flexibilities and public policy options and strategies for supporting, inter alia, R&D, innovation, and technology transfer and management. WIPO assists universities and research institutions in building science, technology and innovation (STI) capacity and in creating conditions for those institutions to look for partnerships either locally or internationally. These include WIPO University Initiative Program and the program on Research Networks; and,

- WIPO support can be specifically targeted to the transfer of ?green? technology, public health-related technologies and other technologies that may be needed to support sustainable development goals.


Intellectual property (IP) protection has emerged as an important component of national economic policies. Governments face choices on how to design an IP system that best serves their policy objectives. They also need to respond to changes in technology and in business models that may challenge the status quo. WIPO seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the economic effects of different IP policy choices and to offer a first entry point for anyone seeking information on the economics of IP. WIPO conducts economic research and commissions studies from academic economists. The resulting publications ­taking the form of WIPO Economic Research Working Papers and Miscellaneous Economics Publications -seek to inform the public policy discourse on the economic effects of different IP policies.

In addition to activities stemming from its identity as the UN specialized agency for IP, WIPO has been specifically called upon by its Member States to address development issues through the WIPO Development Agenda. WIPO?s Global Challenges Division leads on WIPO?s efforts to foster international policy dialogue on the intersection between IP and global public policy issues. In addition to serving as a forum for dialogue on subjects such as public health, climate change, and food Security, WIPO also seeks to inform sound policy making by contributing empirically-based information to its Member States, IGOs, and the public at large. The most recent contribution in this respect was a study commissioned by WIPO on ?Intellectual Property and the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies?. This was also accompanied by a short policy brief based on the study.


WIPO is engaged in a wide range of TK related capacity -building activities, such as the co­ordination of local, national and regional seminars, workshops and consultations, the running of training programs and the publication of case-studies and surveys.

In recent years, there has been significant growth in the number of community, national and regional initiatives requesting the expertise, support and participation of WIPO. These have included policy and legislative processes, capacity-building projects and civil society, industry and academic programs, in all regions and in developed and developing countries. WIPO?s extensive body of unique policy materials and specialized practical tools, such as guidelines, toolkits, training programs and databases, are in high demand. Similarly, WIPO?s tools on IP management in TK documentation, patent examination, recognition of customary law, access and benefit-sharing contracts, handicrafts, arts festivals, dispute resolution and the digitization of cultural heritage are considered to be timely, appropriate and practically useful. In partnership with two external institutions, WIPO successfully launched a hands-on cultural documentation and IP training course for indigenous communities and museums/archives.

WIPO provides practical training to indigenous and local communities in recording, digitizing and disseminating their own cultural traditions and in managing IP issues and options for the purpose of safeguarding both their cultural heritage for future generations and their interest in authorizing use of their recordings and traditions by third parties. This hands-on program includes technical training on the techniques of cultural documentation and on the management of IP rights. The program was successfully piloted with a Maasai community in Kenya in 2008 and 2009.

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