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Clean Technology Transfer

In this lesson, we'll talk about how patents could facilitate or restrict the transfer of clean energy technologies to developing countries.

We'll elaborate on the global IP governance architecture that we began dissecting during our first class, focussing especially on TRIPs. The starting point is a look at Articles 7 and 66.2.

Then we'll tie that into the international framework around climate change, and see how these intersect. Compulsory licensing is one blunt instrument being talked about to facilitate technology transfer. We'll conclude by considering issues related to indigenous peoples' traditional ecological knowledge.

What is the role of IP in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies from developed to developing countries? And if there are problems, how might we respond? To provoke discussion around those two questions, I've compiled a selection of materials presenting different perspectives. The following papers and articles will give you a sense of the contours of the debate:

Insofar as IP might be a barrier to clean technology transfer, one solution people have talked about is compulsory licensing. The idea comes from the approach that was taken toward access to patented pharmaceuticals; can a similar solution work in the context of clean technology, and why or why not? Consider that question after reading (the executive summary of):
If you'd like an analysis of patent pooling in practice, have a look at this brief:
But maybe the problem isn't technology transfer, but technology itself. That point is worth considering, especially from the perspective of some of the world's indigenous peoples. Take a look at: