[p2p-research] Patent regimes and innovation in developing countries

Kevin Flanagan kev.flanagan at gmail.com
Mon Nov 16 00:31:11 CET 2009

Im not an expert but Ive been fishing about some related issues Ive
posted on the list recently -
Postcolonialsim and the Commons and Free Culture and Free Software in
Brazil - by the way thank you all for your useful comments..

So here is a string of what Ive been looking at -

Creative Commons retired their Developing Nations Licence in 2007

'Retiring standalone DevNations and one Sampling license'

The licence limited the freedom to share and develop derivative works
to developing countries while supporting full copyrights in developed
nations. - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/devnations/2.0/

The key reasons cited for this where low demand and conflict with the
principles of the open access movement.

The Open Knowledge Defenition listed the licence as a Non-Conformant because -
"Creative Commons developing nations license does not support
principle "7. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups". -

Which states that -

7. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
Comment: In order to get the maximum benefit from the process, the
maximum diversity of persons and groups should be equally eligible to
contribute to open knowledge. Therefore we forbid any open-knowledge
license from locking anybody out of the process. -

If anybody knows of any studies or reports that Creative Commons has
done on this do let me know

Regarding -

"At one of our workshops, the representative of a major technology
company pointed out that in various structurally weak developing
countries there is no effective protection of "intellectual property".
Thus, ruthless trend scouts can spot innovative inventions in these
countries (e.g. in Afirca and make them available to companies
in industrialised and threshold countries without sharing the benefits
with the innovators. Therefore, we were called upon to advocate the
strengthening of patent regimes in developing countries (with financial
and juridical support by industrialised countries) in order to safeguard
a just compensation for these innovators or communities."

There is nothing new in such a proposal and isnt this always already
on the agenda of developed nations.
The reason piracy is so common in developing countries is because
prohibitive costs of acces to knowledge goods creates a market for it.
A call for stronger regulation and protection of IP in developing
countries will not support innovation it will just further raise the
barriers to knowledge access, hinder both natural innovation and
pirate innovation (2 kinds of innovation that can cross fertalize very
well), this in turn would have the effect of supporting further
dependence on innovation from developed countries where IP is well

It is no surprise that
"At the international climate negotiations, speakers from developing
countries deplore the role of patents as an obstacle to the diffusion
of climate-friendly technologies"

Addressing climate change is so urgent that IP barriers limiting
access to clean energy technology need to be addressed. Any move that
supports the development of Open access, design and manufacturing of
such technologies is a good thing in my view.

Also see -

The African Copyright & Access to Knowledge Project (ACA2K)
"Standards of IP protection that may be suitable for developed
countries may cause greater costs than benefits when applied in
developing countries"

Tips for Developing Countries when reviewing Copyright Laws - "Promote
Open Access, Open Source Software & Open Licensing (e.g. Creative
Commons, etc"

Also see the BISA (Brazil India South Africa) Copyright Review for a
short history of Copyright in the developing world -


Kevin F

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