Climate change

Intellectual property rights protection vital in climate change negotiations

  • 15 September 2009

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) are vital in the development and diffusion of new and existing technologies for combating climate change, ICC has stressed ahead of the December UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Copenhagen, where a post-2012 framework agreement to govern greenhouse gas emissions is to be concluded.

As part of a continuing series of contributions dealing with technology and climate change, the ICC Commissions on Environment and Energy and Intellectual Property have worked together to issue a new paper examining the role of both existing and new technologies in dealing with climate change and highlighting how intellectual property systems spur innovation and contribute to the development of technological solutions.

ICC fully supports the UNFCCC process and strongly believes that it is crucial to reach an agreement in Copenhagen that would provide business with a clear and predictable framework to stimulate investment and deploy technology on the necessary scale. However, ICC believes that the UNFCCC negotiations should not include recommendations that undercut or question existing IPR protections as this would be counter-productive to the shared goal of dealing with the threat of climate change.

Numerous longstanding and broadly accepted inter-governmental institutions and agreements exist to address IPR in global markets and jurisdictions, notably the World Intellectual Property Organization and the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement. ICC believes that their provisions should be respected in the UNFCCC framework.

Technology cooperation and transfer occurs every day in the course of thousands of commercial transactions between the private and public sector. Technology development and deployment includes not merely the transfer of hardware but also of best practices, information and improvement of human skills. The enabling environment of the countries involved is also key for implementation. The global development and deployment of advanced technologies to address climate change will require appropriate institutional frameworks, including IPR protection to accelerate promising technologies.

ICC has developed many tools in the area of intellectual property such as the Roadmap on Current and Emerging Intellectual Property Issues, the Intellectual Property tool kit for Chambers of Commerce, and ICC’s Model International Transfer of Technology Contract, which help support efforts by business and policy-makers to address these issues.

ICC will continue to work with policymakers to bring a wide range of business voices and solutions to the climate change challenge.