Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making Patent Policy Work for Development: Lessons from the SWISS

South Centre organized its Fourth South Innovation Perspectives Seminar on 24 October at Palais des Nations, Geneva.

Dr. Nikolaus Thumm, Senior Economic Counsellor, Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, Berne was the main speaker at this event and delivered his keynote presentation on "Making Patent Policy Work for Development: Lessons from the SWISS."

Prof. Dominique Foray, Chair of Economics of Innovation, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne and Mr. Huang Rengang, Minister Counsellor, Chinese permanent mission to the WTO provided commentary remarks to the presentation made by Dr. Thumm.

According to Dr. Thumm, patents are the second best solution since the first best option of "markets" does not work well. Four policy conclusions emerged from his presentation (i) To ensure a reasonable level of intellectual property protection is crucial. (ii) Only at a certain threshold of development does a patent system begin to spur innovation. (iii) The optimal level of IP protection varies- there is a different optimum for different countries and industries. (iv) The importance is to determine where we are actually.
The Seminar was chaired by Dr. Xuan Li, Lead Economist and Acting Coordinator, Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme, South Centre and was attended by members from the civil society, UN Agencies and delegates from the Missions.

The Fifth South Innovation Perspectives Seminar will be organized on 5 December at Palais des Nations and Dr. Carloyn Deere will deliver the keynote presentation.