This collection offers an overview of the issues involved concerning the interface between human rights and intellectual property rights (IPRs). It makes clear that two schools of thought have developed. The first school maintains that human rights and IPRs are in fundamental conflict. Strong protection of IP is incompatible with human rights obligations. Thus, for resolving the conflict between the two, it is suggested that human rights should always prevail over IPRs. Whereas the second school of thought asserts that human rights and IPRs pursue the same aim; that is to define the appropriate scope of private monopoly power to create incentives for authors and inventors, while ensuring that the public has adequate access to the fruits of their efforts. Accordingly, they argue, human rights and IP are compatible. However, what is needed is to strike a balance between the provision of incentives to innovate and public access to products of that innovation. This collection explores this balance and the extent to which human rights standards can influence the interpretation of IP norms, for example in defining the scope of IPRs. The discussion on the relationship of human rights and IPRs is an ongoing one; this volume makes a valuable contribution to the debate and will further stimulate the interest to explore and address these complex and challenging issues. This is the second volume in The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law ‘New Authors’ series, which contains the best theses from the human rights masters programmes in Lund and Venice.
With a Particular Emphasis on Developing Countries' Measures for Food Production and Distribution
Hans Morten Haugen
A concise analysis of the relationship between patent rights and human rights is given in this book, focusing on the right to food. The UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights identified ‘apparent conflicts’ or ‘actual or potential conflicts’ between human rights and intellectual property rights. The TRIPS Agreement under the WTO Agreement and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights constitute the central treaties in the analysis. The book finds that the right to food and related human rights of the Covenant give important guidance when implementing intellectual property legislation and science policy in general. Moreover, the book does not find that the two treaties actually conflict. There are, however, concerns regarding the national implementation of the treaties.