Daniel Gervais to Speak at Fourth Annual Finnegan Distinguished Lecture on Intellectual Property

October 21, 2008

Professor Daniel J. Gervais will be the 4th annual Finnegan Distinguished Lecturer in Intellectual Property at American University Washington College of Law (WCL) October 21. The lecture, sponsored by WCL’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP), will be titled “TRIPS 3.0.”

Prof. Gervais is the author of the leading treatise on the history and interpretation of the TRIPS agreement and Editor in Chief of the Journal of World Intellectual Property. He is currently a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University Law School, previous to which he was professor of law and Acting Dean of the Common Law Section at the University of Ottawa.

Prof. Gervais practiced law in Montreal from 1985 to 1990. In 1990, he became Consultant-Legal Officer at the World Trade Organization (GATT) and was actively involved in the TRIPS Agreement negotiations. In 1992, in joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and was promoted the following year to Head of the Copyright Projects Section, where he prepared WIPO studies and international meetings on the impact of digital technology on copyright and neighbouring rights. In 1995, Dr. Gervais joined the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) as Assistant Secretary General and in 1997 moved to the United States to become Director of International Relations at Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), the largest reprographic rights organization in the world. He was promoted to Vice-President in 1998.

The lecture, which is open to the general public, will begin at 6pm, preceded by an open reception at 5pm. Please RSVP at wcl.american.edu/secle/register.  For those who are interested but cannot attend, the event will be webcast by WCL at wcl.american.edu/technology/webcasts.cfm.

Each Fall, PIJIP sponsors the distinguished lecture on intellectual property. The lecturers are jurists, scholars, and practitioners who have made significant contributions to the field. Lecturers are encouraged to address topics that relate to PIJIP’s mission – achieving a just and equitable social balance between the desire to reward creators and the need to ensure broad public access to the fruits of social and economic production. 

About TRIPS 3.0

The paper will present the evolution of the TRIPS Agreement, which I will argue has now entered a third phase ("TRIPS 3.0"), one that is informed bycalibration narratives. The intellectual components of the calibration process that is underway are many: (a) the recognition that developing countries are very different, from Chile to China, from Bolivia to Burkina Faso or from Egypt to India, and consequently may need different implementations of TRIPS, instead of "cookie cutter" norm implants; (b) the recognition that below certain developmental thresholds, the introduction of high levels of intellectual property protection will not generate positive impacts (as was evidenced by the extension of transitional periods available for least-developed WTO members); (c) the recognition that intellectual property protection is necessary to develop innovation and foreign direct investment (including technology transfers) but in itself is insufficient to achieve developmental objectives; (d) consequently, the recognition that any complete TRIPS implementation must form part of a broader strategic initiative; and finally (e) the recognition that the sudden introduction of high levels of protection and enforcement may induce significant welfare impacts, which must also be managed. The paper will review recent efforts to recognize the need for calibration, from the extension of transitional periods for least-developed countries to the G8 "Heiligendamm Process". Finally, I will consider the medium and long-term impact of TRIPS, which might be to cause or accelerate a geographical displacement in innovation and what that means for developed countries and for theUnited States. The Conclusion will offer some thoughts on the longer term role of the developing world on the international intellectual property stage.