1 The institutions and actors of international intellectual property
The two main multilateral intergovernmental institutions in the field of intellectual property at the multilateral level are WIPO and the WTO. A number of other intergovernmental institutions are also active in the field, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on matters such as cultural heritage and education; the World Health Organization (WHO) on matters concerning pharmaceutical and medical research and access to medicines; the International Labour Office (ILO) on matters concerning the rights of performing artists; and the secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Nagoya Protocol on matters relating to uses of biological and genetic resources and the protection of related traditional knowledge.
A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are also extremely active at the international level.7 They include organizations representing “right holders” such as pharmaceutical companies, entertainment conglomerates, and luxury brand owners, but also small inventors, songwriters, film makers, actors and performing artists. Some represent indigenous communities that have an interest in protecting their indigenous cultural and medicinal heritage. Even within an industry, not everyone may have similar interests. For example, the software industry includes companies seeking high levels of protection of intellectual property, while others have business models that rely on “open source” software or the possibility of using material created by others. Within the pharmaceutical industry, the companies that spend some part of their profits on research and drug development do not always see “eye-to-eye” with those that produce generic drugs (drugs that are not or no...
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