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A Special Lecture on “Intellectual Property Responsibility: A Manifesto” by Dr Pratyush Nath Upreti on 21st February 2024

The special lecture onIntellectual Property Responsibility: A Manifesto  was organized by Centre for Innovation, Intellectual Property and Competition (CIIPC) and the IPR Chair, National Law University Delhi. The event was organized in hybrid mode with participants attending physically on the NLUD campus and many joining virtually via video conferencing.

The lecture commenced with an inaugural session featuring welcome remarks by Ms. Nishtha Sharma, Research and Programme Coordinator, CIIPC-IPR Chair, National Law University, Delhi. Ms. Nishtha introduced the distinguished speaker Dr Pratyush Nath Upreti, who is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast. Before his appointment at the Queen’s University, Belfast, he held a position at the Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki and the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition Law, Munich. He has acted as an expert and commissioned studies for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and is currently a member of the expert committee on the resource project of World Health Organization (South-East Asia). Apart from this, he is also an author of Intellectual Property Objectives In International Investment Agreements, which was voted for ICAD 2002 IP Law Book of the Year.

Special Lecture

Dr. Pratyush Nath Upreti presented a talk titled “Intellectual Property Responsibility: A Manifesto“. He aimed to reimagine International Intellectual Property (IP) by introducing a framework of fairness and responsibility. Dr. Upreti established the context of his presentation by outlining how the IP system traditionally functions to protect innovators’ investments through exclusive rights, but over the past 25 years, global shifts in economics, geopolitics, and politics have transformed the entire landscape of intellectual property. The changing nature of international IP was explored and emphasis was laid on its interaction, overlap and tension with various fields of law like international trade, public health, human rights, and more. While highlighting the changing nature of International IP, Dr Upreti identified four different episodes contributing to the change. These four episodes are: the invention of the printing press, the marriage of IP and trade, the rise of the internet and, the rise of AI and automation.

The main focus of the lecture was on developing a responsibility narrative within the IP system. Dr. Upreti drew inspiration from Peter Drahos’ work, framing intellectual property rights as “duty-bearing privileges”. He also made three key claims in his forthcoming work. First, the concept of “IP access as responsibility” was discussed; questioning whether the existing IP system can be read to imply that there is an incentive to share. While recalling the COVID-19 Pandemic as a catalyst for change in the landscape of international IP, the speaker carved a distinction between regular and social innovations. The second claim emphasized on “sustainability in IP as a responsibility”. Dr. Upreti illustrated the same with examples like the Right to Repair Movement. The final claim centered on the need to address the increasing gap between developed, developing and least developed countries (LDCs).

The special lecture aimed to call attention to developing an alternative thinking in international IP by integrating a responsibility narrative and encouraging that the evolving nature of international IP calls for balancing obligations and addressing disparities among nations. The lecture was followed by an interactive and thought provoking question and answer round and concluded with high tea.

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