The Commission on Intellectual Property Rights is an independent international body that was set up by the British government in 2001 to examine how intellectual property (IP) rights could work better for developing countries. The Commission’s fundamental task was to consider whether the rules and institutions of IP protection as they have evolved to date can contribute to development and the reduction of poverty in developing countries. As the title of their report implies, the Commission concludes that development objectives need to be integrated into policy-making on intellectual property rights, both nationally and internationally, and the report sets out ways in which this could be put into practice.

The Commission's work has considered:

  • how national IPR regimes could best be designed to benefit developing countries within the context of international agreements, including TRIPS;
  • how the international framework of rules and agreements might be improved and developed — for instance in the area of traditional knowledge — and the relationship between IPR rules and regimes covering access to genetic resources;
  • the broader policy framework needed to complement intellectual property regimes including for instance controlling anti-competitive practices through competition policy and law.

The final report has chapters and recommendations on: intellectual property and development; health; agriculture and genetic resources; traditional knowledge, access and benefit sharing and geographical indications; copyright, software and the Internet; patent reform; institutional capacity; and the international architecture.

[The report is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.]