Upcoming at the CDIP: The Twelfth Session

The Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) will meet starting today  in a regular session from November 18 to 21, 2013. The CDIP was established in 2008 with the mandate of overseeing the implementation of WIPO’s 45 adopted Development Agenda recommendations. Since then, it has set itself upon the task of making development increasingly central to the goals and priorities of WIPO, through both an extensive array of projects aimed to give technical assistance to those countries which seek it, and through striving to make development a key consideration in all committee work throughout the organization.

As it stands, the CDIP remains a hot bed of discord and debate when discussions turn to issues of policy and the mainstreaming of the Development Agenda across the organization. These issues came out once again in force at this year’s General Assembly, as fundamental differences in the framing of Intellectual Property expressed themselves, and the dual roles of IP as both a tool for protection and for greater access remained seemingly incompatible with each other in recent discussions.

The CDIP already currently implements over a dozen ongoing projects aimed to develop IP-related solutions to aid in developing and least developed countries. As the end of November arrives, and the CDIP meets again, they have a number of other issues on their plate for discussion.

Firstly, they will need to acknowledge the decisions which were made at this year’s GA and make headway within their committee based on them, if they hope to offer new recommendations for next year. One particular point of contention which came out was a disagreement about the implementations of the coordination mechanisms for monitoring the progress of the Development Agenda across all relevant bodies at WIPO. There has been much debate about what should count as a “relevant” body, with the Program and Budget Committee (PBC) and the Committee on WIPO Standards being up for particular debate during the GA. In response, the GA reaffirmed its commitment to the coordination mechanisms, while maintaining that all committees are of equal value at WIPO, and essentially requested that the CDIP continue its debates on its own time and come back next year with a solution, effectively deferring any more immediate actions.

Beyond this, the CDIP’s preparatory documents suggest that further discussions of WIPOs role in achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG), will take place, as well as a discussion of new studies in regards to a phenomenon referred to as “brain drain” and its relationship to IP.

Excitingly, the CDIP will present to its members its first comprehensive manual on the Delivery of WIPO Technical Assistance. This manual appears to compiles a number of existing materials into a more clear and cohesive text, and it is aimed as a response to recent calls for increased transparency in the delivery of WIPO technical assistance. The manual appears to cater to all member states, and endeavors to inform relevant parties about the options available to them, so that they might make informed decisions about seeking assistance from WIPO. This should hopefully be a step forwards in adding increased clarity to the goals and purpose of the CDIP, as well as make searching for the right type of assistance easier for interested parties or member states.

We will also see presented a more detailed proposal made by the Republic of Korea in conjunction with the secretariat, titled “Pilot Project on Intellectual Property (IP) and Design Management for Business Development in Developing Countries and Least Developed Countries (LDCS).”  This is a follow up to an initial proposal made during the last session, and the project itself would endeavor to promote development on a national level in two selected countries, through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industrial design rights.

One thing which might be seen as of particular interest, however, is the lack of any new proposal documents in regards to the upcoming conference on IP and Development. After a great deal of disagreement over key speaker choices and topics for discussion, the CDIP was not yet in a position this year to request that the General Assembly make a decision to convene an international conference on the subject. And although a desire to resume discussions on the planning of such a conference was expressed by a number of member states during the GA, including Belgium (September 26, 2013, morning session, 1:01:52) and Brazil (September 26, 2013, morning session, 1:21:27) no document on the subject has been prepared for this week’s meetings. Perhaps this is an indication that the committee wishes to start anew and go back to the drawing board, as it were. Or perhaps this indicates that work towards an international conference on the subject of IP and Development will need to be pushed to the back burner, as other more pressing issues are discussed.