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International Experts Commend UN/CEFACT for Innovative IPR Policy1

Published: 04 October 2007

On  a panel of recognized Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) lawyers and standards specialists addressed a Special Session on Intellectual Property Rights held by the UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) during its 11th Forum in Stockholm.

This session looked at the approaches to IPR taken by a range of information technology (IT) related standards organizations, with an emphasis on the approach taken by UN/CEFACT.

An important conclusion coming out of the discussion was that the IPR Policy of UN/CEFACT provides an innovative and effective solution within the standards development context. A number of speakers noted that the policy provides significantly better protection mechanisms for users and standards development than most of the IPR policies implemented in other IT standards organizations. This was highlighted in a presentation by Mr. Eduardo Gutentag, a leader in numerous IT standards organizations. Another speaker, Mr. Thomas Vinje, an IPR lawyer with Clifford Chance in Brussels stated that he thought it was the best such policy that he had seen. It was also suggested, in the question and answer session with Mr. William Coats, an IPR lawyer with White and Case in the United States, that the UN/CEFACT Policy be considered as a best practice example for the next edition of the American Bar Association’s Standards Development Patent Policy Manual, to which he contributed.

The innovative nature of UN/CEFACT’s IPR policy can be attributed to the need for it to work within the context of the United Nations. The policy was developed after a review of other available IPR policies and was adopted in June 2006. Because the UN/CEFACT IPR policy is both innovative and relatively new, it was agreed that a newly created IPR Task Team would review ways to strengthen the IPR framework, which is composed of the IPR policy itself, related codes of conduct, procedures and processes.

For further information please contact:

Virginia Cram-Martos, Director

Trade and Timber Division
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: +41 (0)22 917 2745
Fax: +41 (0)22 917 0037
E -mail: virginia.cram-martos@unece.org
Website: http://www.unece.org/cefact/

1 Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy for UN/CEFACT defines the rights of participants in the standards development process when they contribute Intellectual Property (IP) to a particular standard (or other output, such as guidelines) as well as the rights of users when they implement outputs containing this contributed IP.

Ref: ECE/TRADE/07/P04

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