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Project description

“We have been struck by the recent extent and influence of NGOs’ activity in IP. We believe that NGOs have made, and can continue to make in the future, a positive contribution to the promotion of the concerns of developing countries.”

Commission on Intellectual Property Rights
“Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy”
London: September 2002, page 165

The IP-NGOs project took as its starting point the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights statement that the role of NGOs is a significant, and positive, factor in relation to intellectual property and development policy.

A key factor in recent NGO activity in relation to intellectual property has been the engagement of NGOs with multilateral institutions, particularly: the World Trade Organisation (WTO); the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO); the World Health Organisation (WHO); the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties; and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

How might this positive engagement with multilateral institutions be maintained and enhanced in the future?

In order to answer this question, the project team of Duncan Matthews and Viviana Munoz Tellez undertook over 60 face-to-face interviews with representatives of NGOs, developing country governments, multilateral institutions, and with other non-governmental actors, such as those from academia and industry.

The project generated empirical evidence about non-governmental public action, processes, institutions, organisations and networks by undertaking case studies examining NGO activities in relation to the following two sets of intellectual property issues:

  1. agriculture, genetic resources and traditional knowledge.
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by Duncan Matthews © Queen Mary, University of London
School of Law, Queen Mary, University of London, 67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JB