David Fewer

is fellow at the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (www.cippic.ca/).


The heavily criticized US domestic law on the protection of intellectual property was based on the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization treaties: a clear example of how IP policy laundering avoids democratic process. Now the US smuggles it own maximalist protection standards into trade agreements with developing nations, whose economies do not benefit from protectionist IP laws. These standards undermine even the narrow concessions the TRIPS agreement affords to developing nations, particularly in the pharmaceuticals sector. But resistance is gathering: in autumn 2005, an alliance of developing nations led by Brazil and Argentina challenged the WIPOs mandate and produced a so-called “development agenda”; and public interest organizations have drafted The Access to Knowledge Treaty (A2K), which sets maximum levels of protection to guarantee public interests.

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