Roundtable spotlights IP

23 April 2007

The economic impacts of intellectual property rights will be spotlighted at Africa's first roundtable on Intellectual Property and Economic Development. This will be convened by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and UCT's Policy Research on International Services and Manufacturing, based in the School of Economics, from 3 to 4 May.

Organiser Professor Dave Kaplan, who straddles both the Graduate School of Business and the School of Economics, says the roundtable will focus on international developments in intellectual property rights and how these affect South Africa from an economic perspective.

"Trademarks, patents and copyright are becoming ever more important and the roundtable will be a shot in the arm for research in this critical but neglected area," Kaplan said.

"It will provide an opportunity to review the literature and discuss the main research questions and methodologies being used and to identify relevant research projects that could contribute to international academic debate as well as to national policymaking in this field."

Themes to be explored will include the role of patents in promoting innovation and technology development; intellectual property development in the pharmaceutical industry, intellectual property and international technology transfer, and the economics of traditional knowledge.

Pushpendra Rai, acting director of WIPO's Economic Development Division, will open the roundtable. The main speakers include Luigi Orsenig of the University of Brescia in Italy and Ashish Arora of Carnegie Mellon in the US.

As a follow-up to the roundtable, participants will be asked to submit research proposals. Accepted proposals will be funded by WIPO for inclusion in a publication with the provisional title The Economics of Intellectual Property in South Africa.

If you're a scholar with a research proposal you'd like to put forward on the topic, this is your chance.

For more information contact Lillian Jacobs by email at

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