HC Deb 25 April 2001 vol 367 cc304-6W
Ms Oona King

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will list the members of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights; and if she will make a statement on its objectives. [159344]

Clare Short

The commission, which we promised to set up in the international development White Paper published last December, will be headed by John Barton, Professor of Law of Stanford University in the USA. He is an expert on intellectual property law, who has long studied the impact that international and national rules have on developing countries.

The other members of the commission are: Daniel Alexander, an intellectual property barrister from the UK Professor Carlos Correa, Professor of Economics at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina Dr. R. A. Mashelkar, Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi, India Dr. Gill Samuels, Senior Director of Science Policy and Scientific Affairs, Europe, Sandwich Laboratories, Pfizer, UK Dr. Sandy Thomas, Director, Nuffield Council for Bioethics, London, UK.

The terms of the reference of the commission are to consider: how national IPR regimes should 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 anticompetitive practices through competition policy and law.

I hope that the commission will advance understanding of how IPR regimes could be sensibly implemented in ways that promote sustainable development, and better livelihoods and health for poor people in developing countries.

The commission will hold its first meeting in London on 8–9 May to chart out its objectives and how it will go about its work. The aim is that it will report to me by March next year. The commission will be supported by a secretariat whose members will be drawn from the staff of the Department for International Development and the UK Patent Office.