This item was brought to my attention recently – it was a closing speech made by the Dutch Minister of International Development, Mr Bert Koenders, at a conference called “Knowledge on the Move” that took place earlier this year. The colleague who sent it to me highlighted some of the messages that dealt with IP issues. Many of us receive financial support from the Dutch government so I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight the position of the minister on the topic.
I will just make a series of quotes, if you wish to read the full speech text please visit the above link.
“at global level, knowledge that is relevant for development needs to be accessible and affordable, not locked up behind copyrights or patents. After all, the justification for exclusive intellectual property rights and their international harmonisation lies in the public interests they serve, which include poverty reduction and sustainable development in my view.”
“I would also urge Dutch universities and research institutes to adopt institutional IP policies that take account not only of valorisation of knowledge and incentives for researchers, but also the importance of access to knowledge and freedom to operate for development purposes.”
“access to knowledge is more important than possession of knowledge”