Patents Shouldn’t Deprive the Poor, Says Holy See

Urges Regulation of Ideas to Benefit Economy

GENEVA, OCT. 1, 2008 ( The regulation of human ingenuity should be balanced, so that it also benefits poorer countries, says the Holy See’s permanent observer at the U.N. offices in Geneva.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi affirmed this at the 45th series of meetings of the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The meetings began Sept. 22 and ended Tuesday.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, a specialized United Nations organism, aims to promote the protection of intellectual property through cooperation among states and in collaboration with other international organizations.

Archbishop Tomasi affirmed that the Holy See is particularly attentive to the ethical and social dimensions that “flow from, affect, and mark out, the human person and her action.”

“It certainly recognizes in intellectual property the characteristic value of innovation and of creativity, of intelligence in all its aspects,” he said. “At the same time, in any undertaking of thought and action, in every scientific, technical or juridical approach, intellectual property is called to respect creation both in the area of knowledge and discovery and in the recognition of the nature of things: matter, intellect, living beings, and, above all, the human person.”

The Holy See representative noted the need to make the regulation of intellectual property beneficial to the economy.

“Human ingenuity is multifaceted, resourceful and capable of finding responses to the challenges that confront the human family,” he said. “The constant request to register new patents evidences such ingenuity and their regulation requires a balanced norm so that the impact on the economy may be beneficial, as well, to the poorer countries and may value their specificity and identities.”

Key interests

Archbishop Tomasi said three issues considered by the WIPO are of special interest to the Holy See.

They are: “the possibilities and the implications of international protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge, folklore and cultural expressions; the requirement of a legal implementation of copyrights and related issues concerning the protection of the rights of broadcasting organizations; and, above all, the process that has allowed the organization of the work in such a way that it now can take into account the expectation of development together with the requirements of norms and technologies related to intellectual property.”

The prelate concluded by affirming that “through its creativity and sense of solidarity, WIPO can, and has the responsibility to, contribute in a major way to the strengthening of a peaceful and more equitable international community.”

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