The Road to Marrakesh: Toward a New Global Synthesis of Intellectual Property and the Public Interest?

The Road to Marrakesh: Toward a New Global Synthesis of Intellectual Property and the Public Interest?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | King Hall Room 1001 | 12:00 PM

2014 Law in the Information Age Lecture:
Ruth Okediji | William L. Prosser Professor of Law | University of Minnesota Law School

The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities (VIP Treaty) is the first intellectual property agreement establishing minimum, mandatory exceptions to the rights granted to authors and owners of knowledge goods. The VIP treaty aims to eliminate copyright-related barriers to access to copyrighted works for over 285 million blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled people around the world; accordingly, it differs from all other intellectual property agreements as a humanitarian endeavor. But the VIP treaty also suggests an explicit reshaping of the structural role of the state in relation to the public welfare objectives of national intellectual property policies. This lecture will highlight the political economy of the negotiating process, and the various justifications that shaped the final provisions of the VIP treaty. The lecture will also explore future prospects for achieving socially-responsible intellectual property outcomes in the global regulatory framework for knowledge goods.

Professor Ruth L. Okediji is an internationally renowned expert and scholar on the international economic system, and on the policy challenges of developing countries, particularly in the sub-Saharan African region. Her work on economic and human development issues related to the harmonization of intellectual property rights has been recognized by many national governments and international agencies. She has authored and co-authored an extensive array of articles and books, including the leading copyright casebook “Copyright in a Global Information Economy” (Aspen) and the inaugural casebook “International Patent Law and Policy” (West). As the Lead Expert Negotiator for the Federal Government of Nigeria at the WIPO Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities, she worked closely with the Africa Group during the negotiations in Marrakesh.

Co-sponsored by UC Davis School of Law & Center for Science & Innovation Studies.