Trips Agreement and the Transfer of Climate Friendly Technology to Developing Countries
|School||Huazhong University of Science and Technology|
|Keywords||climate friendly technology TRIPS agreement technology transfer developing countries developed countries|
Climate change is a global issue commonly focused by international community. To these great efforts made by developing countries, the modification of international intellectual property system bears much significance. Intellectual property rights generate enormous effects on economic development and the environment, mainly via their impact on the availability and deployment of technologies in the developing world. Many of these technologies are climate friendly technologies that constrain greenhouse gas emissions by reducing pollution, increasing efficiency of production and energy usage, or facilitating the capture and storage of carbon. These technologies are sorely needed to support sustainable development. Yet, most climate friendly technologies are concentrated in industrialized countries, and technology transfer to the developing world is not happening fast enough.The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS, or“the Agreement”) is the most significant global IPR treaty. While there are other forums in which to pursue IPR reform, the TRIPS Agreement has become the focal point for debate on intellectual property’s impact on economic development, technology transfer, and public health. Despite significant attention, the impact of policy discussions within and outside the WTO has been minimal in the case of climate friendly technology transfer.This paper surveys the relationship between IPR and technology transfer, examines the relevant provisions of TRIPS, and discusses prospects for motivating climate friendly technology transfer through exploitation, modification, or circumvention of the Agreement. Part II defines relevant terminology, lists the benefits of climate friendly technology and barriers to climate friendly technology transfer, and summarizes past commitments and failed efforts for IPR reform. Part III consists of a detailed examination of the TRIPS principles and provisions relevant to technology transfer. Part IV discusses the flexibilities inherent in TRIPS, potential modifications of the Agreement, and alternative regimes, both pre-existing and hypothetical, which could be used to promote technology transfer in concert with, or in spite of, TRIPS. Finally, Part V discusses concurrent economic policies necessary to ensure sufficient climate-friendly technology transfer.The conclusion of this paper is that climate friendly technology transfer is insufficiently stimulated under the current IPR regime. Industrialized and developing countries share responsibility for overhauling TRIPS and domestic IPR laws to address climate change, following in the footsteps of recent public health exceptions to IPR regulations. Achievement of this goal will require simultaneous actions within and outside the WTO. Firm, measurable, and verifiable commitments are needed to ensure that climate friendly technology transfer to developing countries moves past rhetoric and into reality.