Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), governments are negotiating a post-2012 framework to address climate change. One aspect is to reach agreement on policies that would accelerate access and deployment of Environmentally Sound Technology (EST) to developing countries. Climate change is a serious global challenge and rapid deployment of clean technologies will be essential to achieving needed long-term global emission reduction targets. Some of these critical technologies exist today, while others do not. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are a key driver of investment in R&D, innovation, and dissemination in the public and private sectors. Proposals advanced by some to undercut strong IPRs for EST would be counterproductive to the goal of dealing with the threat of climate change.
As a science company, DuPont believes that:
Availability of technology is not the limiting factor in project development.
According to data assembled by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, patent rights are not a primary barrier to greater deployment of advanced technology in Least Developed Countries. Much more critical are:
- Economic viability
- Capital availability
- Supporting infrastructure
- Governance and regulatory stability
- Local capacity
- According to data assembled by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, patent rights are not a primary barrier to greater deployment of advanced technology in Least Developed Countries. Much more critical are:
Patents encourage investment and innovation.
- There are indications that an increase in local IPR protection shifts foreign investors away from projects focusing solely on distribution of imported goods and towards establishing local manufacturing.
- Eliminating or reducing patent protection available for EST would raise investor uncertainties, thus increasing risk and reducing incentives to invest in critical technologies. Proposals to force patent owners to license or pool patents on EST would have the same effect.
IPR, and particularly patents, contribute to knowledge dissemination.
- Published patent documents offer a vast accessible source of global technological information, partially also in local languages, on which others may build.
Dilution of IPR protection hurts developing countries.
- As the gap between patent protection in developed and developing countries rapidly closes, IPR dilution could jeopardize foreign and local investment and, therefore development of local operations, supply chains, transfer of good business practices and technological know-how.
- Emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil already are leaders in a range of EST, from biofuels to wind to solar.
Discussion of IPRs should occur at the appropriate international organizations.
- Intellectual property rights issues are best addressed in the context of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) with deference to internationally accepted Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) standards.
- Any proposal or recommendation to modify existing IPR regimes should be discussed in the above international expert bodies and supported by data showing that such a proposal or recommendation would achieve the goals desired with no negative impact on the global economy.
Many organizations in the international community share the DuPont view that strong IP rights are important in tackling global climate change. Additional information about this topic can be obtained from the following organizations:
Towards a Low Carbon Economy - A business contribution to the international energy & climate debate