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Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities: a draft proposal


Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities
The General Assembly
Fundamental Principles for Humanity
Non-Violence and Respect for Life
Justice and Solidarity
Truthfulness and Tolerance
Mutual Respect and Partnership

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Discussion of the issues that are the focus of this proposal is provided separately in From Patent Rights to Patent Responsibilities: obligations incumbent on owners and licensors of intellectual property (2007)


The following proposal is designed to focus the debate on those responsibilities for use of intellectual property incumbent on owners of such property and on those to whom use is granted by them in some way. This contrasts with current practice in which any such responsibility is left to others, notably regulatory authorities -- if they have been envisaged and irrespective of whether they have an appropriate mandate and adequate means of imposing constraints on use of the property.

As noted, the device used in formulating the above draft proposal is that of a slight adaptation of the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, proposed by the InterAction Council in 1997 (as amended in 1998) for consideration by the United Nations as a complement to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). No action has since been taken on the original proposal (available in many languages). In a reaction to it, the UN approved a Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (53/144, 9 December 1998).

The focus on patent rights follows from an analogous draft proposal for a Universal Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse (2007), derived in the same manner -- and with which some relevant commentary is also associated. Just as that proposal benefitted from both a specific and a general connotation of "human intercourse", that on this Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities also benefits from multiple connotations highlighted by the possibility of more specific variants:

  • Universal Declaration of Responsibilities for Intellectual Property (namely technical and otherwise)
  • Universal Declaration of Responsibilities for Technical Patents (namely specifically technology-related)
  • Universal Declaration of Evident Responsibilities (namely rendered explicit in some way)

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