Report on CDIP-12
The 12th meeting of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) was held from November 18-21, 2013 at WIPO. This report discusses the proceedings of the meeting and issues that CIS could get involved at future CDIP meetings.
The most important item on the Agenda of CDIP was to finalise the terms of reference for the Independent Review of the Implementation Development Agenda Recommendations under the Coordination Mechanism as per the request of the WIPO General Assembly (CDIP 12/5). However, the Committee was unable to reach a consensus on the Terms of Reference for the Independent Review and further discussion has been put off until the next CDIP.
In addition, the CDIP considered and discussed Progress Reports on the following ongoing WIPO projects:
- Specialized Databases’ Access and Support – Phase II;
- A Pilot Project for the Establishment of “Start-Up” National IP Academies – Phase II;
- Strengthening the Capacity of National IP Governmental and Stakeholder Institutions to Manage, Monitor and Promote Creative Industries, and to Enhance the Performance and Network of Copyright Collective Management Organizations;
- Project on Intellectual Property and Product Branding for Business Development in Developing Countries and Least-Developed Countries (LDCs);
- Project on Intellectual Property and Socio-Economic Development;
- Project on Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer: Common Challenges – Building Solutions;
- Project on Open Collaborative Projects and IP-Based Models;
- Project on Patents and Public Domain;
- Project on Enhancing South-South Cooperation on IP and Development Among Developing Countries and Least Developed Countries;
- Project on IP and Brain Drain;
- Project on IP and the Informal Economy;
- Strengthening and Development of the Audiovisual Sector in Burkina Faso and Certain African Countries; and certain African Countries; and
- Project on Developing Tools for Access to Patent information – Phase II.
The Committee also discussed ongoing projects like measuring WIPO’s contribution to the Millennium Development Goals, proposal for new WIPO activities related to the use of Copyright to promote access to information and creative content, and a study on Patents and the Public Domain.
The following section discusses areas where CIS can play a role at future CDIPs.
Future work for CIS
Using Copyright to Promote Access to Information and Creative Content
This project is aimed at using copyright to promote access to information in three areas: education and research; software development practices, including free and open source software; and public sector information. In addition the WIPO is also looking at new projects that may help Member States achieve development goals through improved Access to Knowledge. In CDIP 11, the Committee identified six projects which could be carried out by the CDIP in the pursuance of these aims. These projects are a result of a paper by Sisule Musungu assessing the feasibility of WIPO projects in the area.  The implementation plan for the above was presented at CDIP 12. The six projects are as under:
- Pilot Project on Creation of a Centralized Database in order to make IP-Related Education and Research (E&R) Resources Available on an Open Access (OA) Basis
- Applicability of Open Licensing to E&R Resources produced by International Organizations
- Development of a Training Module on Licensing and Open Source Software Development
- Integrating Open Source Licensing in WIPO Copyright-Related Courses and Training Programs
- Development of Model Copyright Policies and Legal Provisions for Different Copyright Approaches to Public Sector Information
- International Conference for Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) on Copyright and the Management of Public Sector Information
Discussion at CDIP 12
Thiru of KEI proposed a project on a possible model copyright law similar to the Tunis Model Law for Developing Countries adopted in 1976. However, the delegation from the US objected to such a proposal. Representatives from many countries suggested modifications to the 6 proposals under discussion. Revised findings will be discussed at the next CDIP.
Scope for CIS work
Many of the proposals under consideration speak directly to the work being done by the A2K team in the Indian context. I will be contributing to a critique by the TWN on these projects. Such critiques can continue on the one hand. On the other hand, CIS can get involved in the preparatory work in the lead up to future CDIPs by working closely with the south centre and TWN to mobilize opinion among developing countries. Our expertise from working with domestic policy issues in India will come in handy in shaping future work commissioned by the WIPO in these areas.
Study on the Public Domain (II)
This is the second in a series of studies commissioned by the WIPO under the Project on Patents and the Public Domain (CDIP/7/5/Rev). The paper was authored by James Conley, Peter Bican and Neil Wilkof. Among other things, it concludes that the patent process contributes to a richer public domain. While the conclusions are acceptable in principle, the paper makes some troubling assumptions with regard to the public domain and also some surprising claims with respect to Patent Pools.
Discussion at CDIP 12
TWN pointed out that the study was restricted in scope as it defined the public domain as being limited to information that has lost its patent protection either through expiration of the term of the patent or through other processes that make the patented information part of the public domain de facto. While the author offered to revise the scope of the study, the US objected to it. At a later point, the representative from Egypt picked up on this critique but wrongly attributed it to the EU. When this was pointed out, he withdrew his statement. As it stands, the study will not be revised.
Scope for CIS work
The most surprising conclusion of the paper is that Patent Pools serve to narrow the public domain or that on a scale of contribution to the public domain rank second to last to Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs). I will be contributing to the TWN critique and focus on the conclusions with respect to Patent Pools. Given the implications of the study to our Pervasive Technologies project, we should get involved in the larger project on Patents in the Public domain and respond to future work in the area as well.