Patent and Human Rights: Inventions and Environmental Issues

The relationship between human rights and contributions to knowledge has been at the centre of important debates over the past several years. The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural rights is in many ways the most crucial legal instrument through which the relationship between the two fields can be examined.1 Firstly it recognize for instance the rights to health food, technology, which are some of the rights whose realization can be affected in developing countries that adopt or strengthen intellectual property rights framework based on the commitments they take under the TRIPS(Trade related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) or other intellectual property. Secondly, it recognizes at Article 15(1) C, the need to reward individuals and groups that make specific intellectual contributions that benefit society.

Another dimension of this paper is that whether Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is human rights. This questions turns on the interpretation of the human right to “the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author” enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human rights(UDHR) adopted in1948, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) adopted in1966.

Since the beginning of these rights has been started with interpretations and further it was discussed that the protection of the moral and material interest of authors cannot be equated with IP protection, because IP rights are not fundamental and inalienable entitlements of the human person to the protection of moral and material interests of authors and the right to property in the UDHR.5 Even if IP rights could be recognized as a form of property although property rights are excluded from the ICESCR6 this latter argument fails to point out that IP rights lack the fundamental characteristics of human rights as they are established by legislative acts, limited time and can be bought, sold or revoked.