Low Emission Technology and Innovation: the role of IPRs

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Transcript Low Emission Technology and Innovation: the role of IPRs

From Bali to Cancun:
the debate on technology transfer
and IPRs in the climate change
Ahmed Abdel Latif
Geneva Roundtable on Climate Change
Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Rights
13th July 2010
Enhanced transfer of climate friendly technologies :
A key element of a global climate change deal
With targets for CO2 emissions reductions and financing,
enhanced technology transfer is one of the key issues under
discussion in the climate change negotiations.
Emerging agreement on the establishment of a ‘Technology
Mechanism’ under the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Disagreements on the role of intellectual property rights are part of
this overall discussion on how to accelerate diffusion of clean
technologies, particularly to developing countries.
Provisions on Technology Transfer in the UNFCCC (1)
Article 4.5
The developed country Parties and other developed Parties
included in Annex II shall take all practicable steps to promote,
facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to,
environmentally sound technologies and know-how to other
Parties, particularly developing country Parties, to enable them to
implement the provisions of the Convention. In this process, the
developed country Parties shall support the development and
enhancement of endogenous capacities and technologies of
developing country Parties. Other Parties and organizations in a
position to do so may also assist in facilitating the transfer of such
Provisions on Technology Transfer in the UNFCCC (2)
Article 4.7
The extent to which developing country Parties will effectively
implement their commitments under the Convention will depend
on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of
their commitments under the Convention related to financial
resources and transfer of technology and will take fully into
account that economic and social development and poverty
eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing
country Parties.
Technology Transfer in the Kyoto Protocol
Article 10 (c)
Cooperate in the promotion of effective modalities for the
development, application and diffusion of, and take all practicable
steps to promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the
transfer of, or access to, environmentally sound technologies,
know-how, practices and processes pertinent to climate change, in
particular to developing countries, including the formulation of
policies and programs for the effective transfer of environmentally
sound technologies that are publicly owned or in the public
domain and the creation of an enabling environment for the
private sector, to promote and enhance the transfer of, and access
to, environmentally sound technologies
Challenges towards Implementing Art. 4.5 (1994-2007)
Definition of technology transfer and how to implement Art.4.5
In 2002, COP 7 adopted a framework for meaningful actions to
effectively implement Art 4.5 :
Technology Needs Assessments
 Technology Information
 Enabling Environments
 Capacity building
An Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) was established.
The Bali Action Plan and technology transfer (2007)
The Bali Action Plan called for “enhanced action on technology
development and transfer to support action on mitigation and
adaptation, including, inter alia, consideration of:
(i) Effective mechanisms and enhanced means for the
removal of obstacles to, and provision of financial and other
incentives for, scaling up of the development and technology to
developing country Parties in order to promote access to
affordable environmentally sound technologies (EST);
Climate change discussions since Bali (1)
Ad Hoc Working Group
on Long-term
Cooperative Action
Ad Hoc Working Group
on Further Commitments
for Annex I Parties under
the Kyoto Protocol
Subsidiary Body for
Implementation (SBI)/
Subsidiary Body for
Scientific and
Technological Advice
Expert Group on
Technology Transfer
Climate change discussions since Bali (2)
A diversity of proposals.
Technology transfer or technology diffusion?
The role of innovation in the development of clean technologies
Emerging Consensus on a Technology Mechanism
“Establish a Technology Mechanism pursuant to the provisions
on enhanced action on technology development and transfer in
support of action on adaptation and mitigation which will be
guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national
circumstances and priorities.”
(FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/8, 9th July 2010)
“We decide to establish a Technology Mechanism to accelerate
technology development and transfer which will be guided by a
country-driven approach and be based on national
circumstances and priorities.”
Copenhagen Accord
Structure of Technology Mechanism
Technology Mechanism
Executive Committee
Climate Technology
Centre and Network
Main functions under the Technology Mechanism
Increased R&D cooperation
International and National Technology Action Plans
Creation of a network of regional technology innovation centers
Strengthening of national innovation systems
Capacity Building
Develop Partnerships
Scaling up joint R&D?
Widely shared and recurrent policy option. But why is it not done
more ? And how can it be scaled up?
Overall, there is little joint R&D in the areas of climate change
technologies, even between OECD countries.
Focus tends to be on “pre-competitive” stage of technology
In some countries, universities are not allowed to license
technology funded by their national government to foreign firms.
The Technology Transfer and IPRs debate
Discussions on the role of IPRs in the transfer of clean technologies
have been controversial.
Disagreements focus on whether IPRs are a barrier to the transfer of
clean technologies or an essential pre-requisite to promote
innovation, technology development and transfer.
Discussions have been confined to general statements and lacked
solid empirical basis.
Language on IPRs remains bracketed in the negotiating text. Some
countries would favor no language at all on IPRs.
However, this is not an entirely new debate (Chapter 34 of Agenda
21, Rio Summit 1992).
Options in the negotiations
on Transfer of Technology and IPRs
Negotiating text reflects a wide range of views and proposals:
→ No mention of IPRs
Global Technology Intellectual Property Rights Pool for Climate
Change to promote access to IP protected technologies and the
associated know-how to developing countries on non-exclusive
royalty-free terms
Ensure sharing of publicly funded technologies including by
making the technologies and know-how available in the public domain
in a manner that promotes transfer to DC on royalty-free terms
Right of developing countries to use to the full TRIPS flexibilities
including compulsory licensing
Exclude from IPRs protection, and revoke any such existing IPR
protection in developing countries and least developed countries on
environmentally sound technologies to adapt to and mitigate climate
What is needed?
Deconstructing the Role of IPRs in Technology Transfer
TT is a complex and multidimensional process contingent on many
factors (finance, local absorptive capacity, enabling environment).
TT involves knowledge which is embodied not only in IPRs such as
patents but also in blueprints, designs, know-how and trade secrets.
IPRs are important to promote innovation. By offering protection
against a loss of control of information in technology-related
transactions, IPRs facilitate the transfer of technology.
IPRs have also an impact on cost of technology acquisition and rate
of technology diffusion. Licensing conditions play a key role.
Role of IPRs varies according to technology and sector. IP issues
raised in the context of mitigation technologies are different from
those in the context of adaptation.
Capitalizing on previous research on TT and IPRs
Since early on, ICTSD sought to promote a better understanding of issues
relating to transfer of technology and IPRs in order to advance international
processes in this area, in particular through evidenced based policy oriented
● Examples of recent publications on technology transfer include:
▪ Technology transfer in the TRIPS age: the need for new types of
partnerships between the least developed and most advanced
economies, by Dominique Foray, EPFL, 2009.
▪ New Trends in Technology Transfer, By John H. Barton George E.
Osborne Professor Emeritus Stanford Law School, Issue Paper 18, IP
and Sustainable Development Series, 2007.
▪ Encouraging International Technology Transfer, by Keith Maskus,
Professor of Economics, University of Colorado at Boulder, Issue Paper
No. 7, IP and Sustainable Development Series, 2004.
▪ Nutrition and Technology Transfer Policies, by John H. Barton, George
E. Osborne Professor Emeritus Stanford Law School Issue Paper No. 6,
IP and Sustainable Development Series, 2004.
How to respond?
ICTSD Initiative on
Climate Technology
and Trade
Policy Research (I)
Empirical Evidence (II)
Policy Research (I)
1) Drawing lessons from other policy debates involving IPRs, such as public
→ Innovation and technology transfer to address climate change:
lessons from the global debate on IP and Public Health, by Frederick
Abbott, Issue Paper, No.24, June 2009.
2) Drawing lessons from other technology transfer models:
→ Fostering the development and diffusion of technologies for
climate change: lessons from the CGIAR Model, by Carlos. Correa,
Policy Brief No.6, December 2009.
3) Analyzing some of the proposals in the negotiations from a practical perspective:
→ Access to climate change technology by developing countries: a
practical strategy, by Cynthia Cannady, Issue Paper No. 25, September
4) Identifying issues and challenges for LDCs:
→ Technologies for Climate Change and Intellectual Property:
Issues for Small Developing Countries, Information Note No. 12,
October 2009.
Empirical Evidence (II)
Empirical evidence on transfer of climate change technologies and
IPRs is limited and recent.
Study by John Barton for ICTSD in 2007: IP and Access to Clean
Energy Technologies in Developing Countries. An Analysis of Solar
Photovoltaic, Biofuel and Wind Technologies.
The UNEP-EPO-ICTSD Project on Patents and Clean Energy is
based on the premise that the scale of the challenge is such that only
a broadly based partnership can succeed. The project was
announced in April 2009.
The urgency of addressing the climate change challenge could
present us with a unique opportunity to re-energize and move the
decades-old discussion on technology transfer beyond entrenched
beliefs and well known positions..
This calls for innovative approaches and creative solutions to
address unresolved issues, including IPRs, with a view to
accelerate the transfer of climate change technologies to
developing countries.
Viability of new international architecture on TT for climate change
contingent on levels of financing.
Thank you
[email protected]