344. The representative of Bangladesh said that it was obvious from the subject of the agenda item that it covered a vast area and was also subject to different interpretations by Member countries. Though IP and innovation were two distinct branches of the same subject, both of them were associated with investment, economic growth, prosperity, as well as social and cultural development. He said that, unfortunately, all countries were not in a position to benefit equally from these concepts due to historical reasons. Some countries got political independence only in the last 50 years, and most of the developing countries were not in a position to develop IP regimes according to their specific legal requirements, nor were they able to sufficiently innovate to achieve development. As a result, developing countries, especially the LDCs, seriously lacked institutional capability and human resources to utilize IP and innovation for sustainable development.
345. He said that LDCs in particular faced greater challenges in developing and protecting their valuable IP assets and in developing their own IP regimes suitable to their needs, particularly in the sectors such as agriculture, food security, rural development, human and social development, trade and technology. Innovation was a continuous process, and needed to move forward. IP and innovation, and IP regimes and innovation were two different issues. IP regimes did not provide a level playing field to facilitate innovation in all countries in the same way. While the existing IP regimes favoured innovation and its commercial returns in some countries, they might do the opposite in developing countries. In most developing countries and in almost all of the LDCs, the private sector did not have the capability to invest heavily in R&D. It was the public sector that filled the gap of the private sector. So the approach and objectives of IP regimes in developing countries must be different from those of developed countries.
346. While IP was property, it was also a privilege. Thus there must be a proper balance between rights and obligations to effectively use both IP and innovation. Developing countries needed special and differential treatment and must be eligible to receive assistance, in addition to technical assistance, which must be development-oriented, demand-driven and transparent. He noted that WTO Members had already recognized this under Articles 66 and 67 of the TRIPS Agreement and hoped for their continued engagement.