Multilateral Matters

Welcome to the home page of our Multilateral Matters series of blog posts written and curated by Adjunct Professor Wend Wendland.

Multilateral Matters believes that significant global policy challenges – existing, emerging and future – are best identified, discussed and resolved through multilateral coordination and collaboration.

The blog briefly analyzes multilateral processes, negotiations and developments related to intellectual property, development and public policy (“intellectual property” (IP) includes intangible assets such as innovations, creations, brands, data and confidential information).

Each blog post aims to explain – in an accessible, informal and conversational manner – an ongoing multilateral negotiation on an unresolved IP policy issue and why it matters.

What are the substantive issues at stake? What form do the negotiations take? Who participates in them? Which legal, political and process challenges might there be? What are the prospects for an agreed outcome?

And, which new issues are on the horizon that may require multilateral attention? What is the future of the intellectual property system as we know it today? Which emerging technological, commercial, societal and environmental developments are likely to disrupt current regulatory frameworks, institutions and business models related to the production, use and sharing of intangible assets?

This page assembles all the blogs posted so far. It also provides a non-exhaustive selection of additional readings and new materials beyond those cited in each blog.

Feedback and comments may be sent to and also here: @WendWendland

Additional readings, relevant documents and new materials

On multilateralism and international organizations generally

Francis Gurry, “Francis Gurry on the Challenges of Multilateralism in the Field of Intellectual Property”, WIPO Magazine, October 2016.

Adriano Jose Timossi, “Developing Country Coalitions in Multilateral Negotiations: Addressing Key Issues and Priorities of the Global South Agenda”, 2019, Research Paper 98, South Centre.

Faizel Ismail, WTO Reform and the Crisis of Multilateralism – A Developing Country Perspective, South Centre, 2020

John Gerard Ruggie, “Multilateralism: The Anatomy of an Institution”, International Organization, Vol 46, 3, Summer 1992, pp. 561-598

David M. Malone and Rohinton P. Medhora “International Cooperation: Is the Multilateral System Helping”, CIGI Papers No. 218, June 2019

Barnett, M. and Finnemore, M., The Politics, Power and Pathologies of International Organizations, International Organization 53, 4, Autumn 1999, pp. 699-732

MM#1 Achieving Positive Outcomes in International IP Negotiations

Wend Wendland, ‘International Negotiations at WIPO on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions: Analysis of the Process So Far and Thoughts on Possible Future Directions’ (2018) 114 Intellectual Property Forum 31

Wend Wendland, “Protecting Indigenous Knowledge: A Personal Perspective on International Negotiations at WIPO”, WIPO Magazine, December 2019.

IP Australia et al, Guidelines to using evidence from research to support policy-making, 2019.

MM#2 Biopiracy on the High Seas? Negotiations on Marine Genetic Resources in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction

Bonfanti, A and Trevisanut, S “TRIPS on the High Seas: Intellectual Property Rights on Marine Genetic Resources”, 37 Brook.J. Int’l. (2011)

President’s Aid to Negotiations December 2018

Heffernan, Olive “Who Owns the Ocean’s Genes, Tension in the High Seas”, Scientific American, September 12, 2022

MM#3: Copyrighting Culture? Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions

Regencas, Tracy, “Unauthorized Use of Traditional Cultural Expressions: Insult or Honour?” INTA, June 23, 2021

Kariuki, Francis, Notion of ‘Ownership’ in IP: Protection of Traditional Ecological Knowledge vis-a-vis Protection of TK and Cultural Expressions Act, 2016 of Kenya, Journal of Intellectual Property Rights, Vol 24, May-July 2019, pp 89-102

Stephen Collins, “Ghana’s copyright law for folklore hampers cultural growth”, The Conversation, September 2019

Vezina, B., “Curbing Appropriation in the Fashion Industry”, CIGI Papers 213, April 2019

Frederiksson, Martin “Between Intellectual and Cultural Property: Myths of Authorship and Common Heritage in the Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions”, Cultural Analysis, Vol 17, 2019

Osaretin Oriakhogba, Desmond, Empowering Rural Women Crafters . . .SALJ 2020-1

Musiza, Charlene, “Museums and Women’s Empowerment in Zambia”, IP Unit, UCT

MM#4: Intellectual Property Norm-Building: Some Reflections on the Interplay between the National and International Dimensions

Cheek, M. (2000). The limits of informal regulatory cooperation in international affairs: A review of the global intellectual property regime. Geo. Wash. Int’l L. Rev.33, 277

Dinwoodie, G. (1999). The integration of international and domestic intellectual property lawmaking. Colum.-Vla JL & Arts23, 307

Dinwoodie, G. (2001). The architecture of the international intellectual property system. Chi.-Kent L. Rev.77, 993

Dreyfuss, R. (2014). Intellectual Property, Lawmaking, Global Governance, and Emerging Economies. In Okediji, R., & Bagley, M. (Eds.), Patent Law in Global Perspective (pp. 53-84). Oxford University Press

Ginsburg, J. (2000). International copyright: from a bundle of national copyright laws to a supranational code. J. Copyright Soc’y USA47, 265

Hicks, L., & Holbein, J. (1997). Convergence of national intellectual property norms in international trading agreements. Am. UJ Int’l L. & Pol’y12, 769

Okediji, R. (2001). TRIPS Dispute Settlement and the Sources of (International) Copyright Law. J. Copyright Soc’y USA49, 585

Ruse-Khan, H. G. (2009). Time for a Paradigm Shift-Exploring Maximum Standards in International Intellectual Property Protection. Trade L. & Dev.1, 56

MM #5: The Protection of Country Names and its Contribution to Development

Vink, Z. “7 Steps to Increase the Power and Value of Nation Brands”, September 2, 2017

MM #6: What Can African Countries Do To Make Sure They Have Affordable Access to a COVID-19 Cure?

Kleyn, M. and Longton, E., Patent Waiver in the Time of COVID-19, Les Nouvelles, LESI, July 2021.

Winslett, Gary, A Compromise Moratorium, R Street, March 2, 2021

Shabalala, Dalindyebo, How to get COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries – and still keep patent benefits for drugmakers, The Conversation, April 14, 2021

South Africa,  Intellectual Property and the Public Interest: Beyond Access to Medicines and Medical Technologies Towards a More Holistic Approach To TRIPS Flexibilities, submission to the TRIPS Council, July 17, 2020

Guide for the Granting of Compulsory Licenses and Government Use of Pharmaceutical Patents, South Centre, Research Paper 107, April 2020

Gurry, Francis, “Some Considerations on Intellectual Property, Innovation, Access and COVID-19”, April 25, 2020

“The COVID-19 Pandemic: R&D and Intellectual Property Management for Access to Diagnostics, Medicines and Vaccines”, South Centre, Policy Brief 73, April 2020

“WHO Launches initiative for equitable access to COVID-19 tools”, SUNS #9109, 28 April 2020

WHO, WIPO, WHO, “Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation – Intersections between Public Health, Intellectual Property and Trade”, 2013

Video remarks by Antonio Gutteres, UN Secretary General, April 24, 2020

“Uniting Behind A People’s Vaccine Against COVID-19”, May 14, 2020, letter signed by Presidents of Pakistan, South Africa and many others

“US stays away as world leaders agree action on Covid-19 vaccine”, The Guardian, April 24, 2020

Multilateral Matters #7: Intellectual Property Rights in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA): Initial Observations

Nathalie Munyampenda, “Recalibrating innovation: science at the center of Africa’s development”, WIPO Magazine, December 2019

Marumo Nkomo, Jabulani Mthombeni and Trod Lehong, “The African Continental Free Trade Agreement – a significant role for IP”, WIPO Magazine, December 2020

Multilateral Matters # 8

Regencas, Tracy, “Unauthorized Use of Traditional Cultural Expressions: Insult or Honour?” INTA, June 23, 2021

Multilateral Matters # 9: The Marrakesh Treaty and the Accessible Books Consortium: What Lessons for Successful Intellectual Property Multilateralism?

Multilateral Matters #11: “Consensus” in Multilateral Negotiations: What does it Mean and Does it Produce Effective, Wise and Durable Agreements?

Adlung, R. and Mamdouh, H., “Plurilateral Trade Agreements: An Escape Route for the WTO?”, WTO Working Paper ERSD, 2017 03

Haug., C. (2015). “What Is Consensus and How Is It Achieved in Meetings?: Four Types of Consensus Decision Making”