With the next meeting of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property at WIPO coming up in April, what will the new approach of the Obama administration be? US leadership has been influential on the progress of the development agenda; for some time the US was the key opponent of the agenda until, with certain key concessions from the Friends of Development in hand, they allowed the agenda to go forward in a less radical form.
The President of the World bank calls on the new administrtation to provide stimulus, given the current economic crisis, to developing countries. Sisule Musungu highlights some of the opportunities where the Obama administration could provide stimulus and leadership in the arena of global IP in the upcoming year.
Given the economic downturn, and if the new administration's choice of officials for leadership positions within the Justice Department are any indication, it may be that American international IP policies will change little. So far, as Howard Knopf notes, it's looking like stimulus will be focussed at home. Whereas some fear that scientific and technical assistance programs will be cut as a result of the economic downturn, Harvard University's Calestous Juma argues that the Obama administration will the thinking globally, and looking for ways to continue to support research and development around the world. Such initiatives are often linked to the usual calls for stronger IP protection which may in turn also, as Knopf notes, be linked to new trade policies and under-the-table tradeoffs.
The new administration might stimulate some fresh thinking by examining the opportunities highlighted by Musungu. These may highlight some new ways to "do good" in international IP policy.