Intellectual Property (IP)
QUNO's work on IP is done in Geneva
The Quaker United
Nations Office in Geneva has been working on Intellectual Property-related issues since the late 1990s. With an initial focus on intellectual property, biological diversity and food, the programme soon extended in reach and QUNO played a key role in a number of processes including access to medicines, a development agenda for World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), and other areas.
Currently, QUNO's work relating to intellectual property focuses on protection of plant varieties.
In the last 20 years, new rules on the scope and territorial extent ofintellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.) have expanded beyond national and existing multilateral arenas (i.e. WIPO) to bilateral, regional and World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade agreements.
The new rules being negotiated raise the minimum standards for intellectual property protection. As a result, developing countries have far less flexibility or policy options than developed countries had over the past 200 years in using intellectual property to support what is appropriate for their level of national development and other policy objectives.
These new rules apply inter_alia to a range of biologically based materials, including life forms (such as microorganisms, seeds and plants). This will impact upon key development areas important for social and economic prosperity such as: food security, agriculture, access to genetic resources, biodiversity, environment, health and access to essential medicines, and the protection of traditional knowledge, folklore and cultural property.
QUNO's programme on IP was reviewed in 2004 by the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department, an independent evaluation service in the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Read the evaluation report
Food, Biological Diversity and Intellectual Property - The Role of the International
Union for the Protection of
New Varieties of Plants (UPOV),(English)
by Graham Dutfield, February 2011 (445 kb)
Publications and Statements
QUNO's Global Economic Issues programme issues a range of publications Read more