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4-Patents: Rockefeller Foundation promotes "IP policies fairer to poor people"

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TITLE:  Rockefeller Foundation initiative to promote intellectual property
        (IP) policies fairer to poor people
SOURCE: Rockefeller Foundation, USA
DATE:   Nov 4, 2002

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Rockefeller Foundation initiative to promote intellectual property (IP) 
policies fairer to poor people

NEW YORK, November 4, 2002 - Recognizing that emerging international 
intellectual property (IP) policies do not adequately reflect or respond to 
the concerns of poor people and developing countries, the Rockefeller 
Foundation ( has begun a multi-year initiative to support 
the emergence of fairer, development-oriented IP policies. As part of this 
new initiative the Foundation is launching this week a three-year series of 
meetings at its international conference center in Northern Italy to focus 
attention on neglected development perspectives on IP policy.

The Foundation will support the call for a more balanced international IP 
policy framework by supporting initiatives to deepen analysis of the range 
of possible IP policy options, demonstrate innovative practical approaches 
to IP, build leadership among developing countries, NGOs and community 
groups, and broadening participation in international IP policymaking.

Improving lives and livelihoods

"Through the work of our grantee organizations, the Foundation will pursue 
IP policies that protect poor consumers against rising costs of vital 
technologies," said Gordon Conway, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. 
"Technologies, such as new drugs and improved seed varieties, are crucial 
to combating disease, alleviating hunger and reducing poverty. But the poor 
can only benefit from these technologies if they are affordable. This 
depends on removing the restrictions imposed by current Intellectual 
Property policies."

By working for IP policies that defend the sharing of knowledge, 
information, and research among scientists, inventors, farmers, and 
creators, Rockefeller Foundation grantees will help sustain a vital 
precondition for innovation. A component of the work will target 
marginalized constituencies, supporting efforts to protect poor rural 
farmers, indigenous communities and developing-country scientists from 
unauthorized or unfairly compensated use of their knowledge. The 
Rockefeller Foundation hopes that its efforts will contribute to maximizing 
the flexibility of developing countries to devise national IP policies that 
advance their sustainable development objectives.

Fostering a pro-poor IP policy agenda

To complement its grantmaking efforts, the Rockefeller Foundation is also 
launching a three-year series of consultations and workshops, the Bellagio 
Series on Development and Intellectual Property Policy. The Bellagio Series 
will provide a venue for developing country policymakers, scientists, and 
civil society groups to share and critically examine neglected development-
oriented IP policy options, develop political strategies, and review 
broader approaches to promoting development and innovation. By providing 
opportunities for historically marginalized actors and promising new 
entrants to engage in strategic discussion of IP policy (such as indigenous 
peoples and emerging IP policy leaders from developing countries), the 
Foundation'sstrategy is to strengthen and broaden the community of pro-
poor, development-oriented IP analysts, advocates and policymakers.

The Series will be convened at a newly-restored 17th century Capuchin 
friary on the grounds of the Foundation'sBellagio Study and Conference 
Center on Lake Como in Northern Italy. Held over several contiguous weeks, 
each annual series will consist of several intersecting meetings, some 
hosted by external organizations and some directly by the Foundation, 
depending on strategic priorities, needs and policy opportunities. The 
Bellagio IP Series is not designed to produce a specific, single report or 
set of conclusions.

2002 Bellagio IP Series meetings

The 2002 Bellagio IP Series is the first installment in the three-year 
series of meetings and will feature the following five core meetings.

Towards development-oriented IP Policy: Setting an Agenda for the Next Five 
30 October-2 November.
This meeting gathers a group of approximately 20 leading development and IP 
analysts and developing country government experts with the aim of 
identifying policy recommendations and actions required in the next five 
years to rebalance the current terms of international engagement on IP 
policy. Organized by the International Center for Trade and Sustainable 
Development and the UN Conference for Trade and Development

Empowering New IP Policy Leadership.
12-15 November
This meeting will draw together a group of leading organizations, 
academics, and a group of emerging IP experts from developing countries to 
help design a strategy for mentoring a next generation of public-interest 
oriented IP policy leaders from developing countries. Organized by the 
Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute

Workshop on Technology Transfer for Human Development.
15-17 November
A small group of experts will meet to explore the relative importance of IP 
policy within the broader scope of policy and capacity needs related to 
technology transfer and development, and identify priorities and policy 
options in the context of ongoing WTO discussions on technology transfer. 
Organized by the Rockefeller Foundation

Collective Management of IP: Tackling the Anti-Commons.
20-25 November
This meeting will draw together experts with experience in alternative, 
collective approaches to IP, such as the open source movement, "creative 
commons", and IP pooling mechanisms, to explore the concepts, potentials 
and problems of knowledge/technology trusts. Organized by the Rockefeller 

Call of the Earth Circle: Indigenous Peoples' Dialogue on IP.
26-30 November
Launching an indigenous peoples network to articulate the varying 
perspectives of indigenous peoples in international IP policy processes. 
Organized by an Ad Hoc Steering Committee of Indigenous Peoples.


About the Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a knowledge-based global foundation with a 
commitment to enrich and sustain the lives and livelihoods of poor and 
excluded people throughout the world.  Through its grantmaking, an 
important focus of the Foundation is to help broaden the benefits and 
reduce the negative impacts of globalization for vulnerable communities.


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