Briefing paper

Using SDGs to leverage national intellectual property strategies

Intellectual property International law Economic development Sustainable development

IP rights are often presented as a contentious issue in the development discourse. Some view strong IP rights as an obstacle to domestic development by creating barriers to the use of intangible resources on favourable terms. Others view IP rights as a means to foster growth in domestic industries, encourage innovation and protect foreign firms in high-infringement jurisdictions. These differing global perspectives on whether and, if so, how, IP rights promote development in domestic and global economies often result in policies that are either conducive to development or are challenging as development aids. The SDGs make no explicit reference to IP. However, IP is implicit in either the achievement of the SDGs as a whole, or as an aspect of specific goals, such as innovation. This policy brief deals with the relevance of the SDGs to the creation, use, protection and management of IP in developed economies. 

Key points:

  • As an international developmental framework, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) create an opportunity to activate a development-oriented approach to domestic intellectual property (IP) strategies in general.
  • Including consideration of the SDGs in IP domestic policy could lead to greater and more lasting success.
  • Development intersects with IP policies as creativity and innovation are either fostered or frustrated by an economy’s chosen development policy
  • A well-executed and effective IP strategy needs to be targeted at all aspects of development policy. This includes various communities, all types of institutions and social organizations. Even sectors that are not typically associated with an IP strategy, such as mining, can complement an IP developmentoriented policy, impacting rural and smaller communities in Canada.
Publication Details
New Thinking on SDGs and International Law: Policy Brief No. 2
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