What is the right balance between intellectual property rights and the spread of technology?

Should people in poor countries be deprived of a life-saving or humanitarian technology simply because they can’t afford to license the rights at market price?

(Picture courtesy of Tomas Castelazo)

There is no easy (or right) answer to this question — only policy judgements that reflect various approaches to IP rights.

However, no one would deny the right of two parties to agree by contract to share technologies on a humanitarian basis:  or what the Natural Innovation Foundation and Comar Law call The Humanitarian License (click here for the license).

The Humanitarian License permits companies to share technologies with poor or developing countries while retaining their IP rights at home.  Should markets mature enough to permit sale of the technology at market price, the license can be terminated.

For more information, see the Natural Innovation Foundation website.

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