12 September 2008

Another Expert Group Gets It

One of the heartening signs of things changing in the world of intellectual monopolies is that more and more groups and studies are coming out that highlight the manifest problems with the current system. Here's another one, this time from the Internation Expert Group on Biotechnology, Innovation and Intellectual Property.

Here's the nub:

The core finding is that policy-makers and business leaders must give shape to a new era of intellectual property to stimulate innovation and broaden access to discoveries. The current system, ‘Old IP,’ rests on the belief that if some intellectual property (IP) is good, more must be better. But such thinking has proved counterproductive to industry, which in health fields has seen declining levels of innovation despite increasing stakes in intellectual property. The era of Old IP has also proved counterproductive to the world’s poor who await advances in health and agriculture long available to the global elite.

The International Expert Group on Biotechnology, Innovation and Intellectual Property concluded that a ‘New IP’ era that focuses on cooperation and collaboration is slowly emerging. Intellectual property is meant to assist in this process by encouraging cooperation among various brokers and stakeholders. The best innovative activity occurs when everyone – researchers, companies, government and NGOs – works together to ensure that new ideas reach the public, but are appropriately regulated and efficiently delivered to those who need them.

Although I don't agree we need a new era of intellectual monopolies so much as one *without* intellectual monopolies, it's still an important statement, given the stature of those making it. The full report is here.

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