The role of intellectual property in technology transfer and competition

02 May 2014

Students at Lund University of Sweden learn from an UNCTAD partnership how policy frameworks can help build domestic technological capacities and the role of intellectual property rights in this regard.​

A key element in economic and industrial development is the ability of countries to absorb technological know-how from abroad.

Developed countries' intellectual property (IP) systems were gradually developed to accommodate the increasing capacities of local industrial sectors. Many developing countries by contrast lack an IP system that appropriately reflects their stage of technological development.

While the TRIPS Agreements contain a number of provisions that could potentially assist developing countries in the increased absorption of foreign technologies, a key condition for this to take place is stronger domestic technological capacities.

From 3 to 4 April 2014, Christoph Spennemann, Legal Expert at UNCTAD's Intellectual Property Unit, discussed with Lund University students possible ways of promoting such capacities. In particular, the discussion focused on the use of certain exceptions to patent rights and the use of competition law principles in technology licensing agreements.

Professor Hans Henrik Lidgard, Senior Professor of Law and Director of the post-graduate class on international licensing and technology transfer expressed the wish for cooperation with UNCTAD. He suggested possible contributions by Lund University through research on unresolved technology transfer issues that could directly benefit UNCTAD's work. These included, for instance, a review of initiatives taken by developed countries to provide incentives to their enterprises to encourage the transfer of technologies to least developed countries under Article 66.2 of the TRIPS Agreement.

UNCTAD's involvement was initiated through the UNCTAD Research Partnership Platform (RPP), of which the Law Faculty of Lund University is a new member.

The RPP brings together research institutions, universities, competition authorities, business and civil society, and provides a platform for joint research and other activities with UNCTAD.