Access to justice and legal education: redefining the scope of intellectual property rights in Commonwealth countries

Paper presented at the 2015 CLEA Conference in Glasgow

Ifeoma Oluwasemilore
University of Lagos

In recent times, Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) have gained new grounds and they are expanding new frontiers in terms of their operation and implementation in relation to human development in both developed and developing economies. However, strict compliance with IPR hardly affords interested persons access to knowledge derivable from protected rights. Nevertheless, these rights are essential to acquisition of knowledge and human development. Creative commons, Open source and Open access are middle ground tools for bridging what can be called “some reserved rights” and providing more acceptable means of use of intellectual property materials by just requiring attribution. Accordingly there is need to examine on a comparative basis the international and some national legal systems of IPR to ascertain the extent to which users’ rights are safeguarded or provided for and also present a case for statutory framework. This is important to access to justice and human rights in the commonwealth and other common law countries
Though a lot has been written on the concern on strict application of IP protection and how the strict application may hinder access to justice and human rights, authors have not really explored sufficiently the application of the new emerging concept in intellectual property. This paper focuses on advancing these concepts. To this end it addresses the issue of the application of the concepts in redefining the scope of protection in intellectual property law beyond the level already attained by authors.
The paper aims to examine the theoretical basis or the justification of intellectual property rights and their relevance to access to justice and human rights. It equally aims at examining the hardship that strict application of Intellectual property protection may exact on knowledge acquisition and transfer. Furthermore, the paper aims at examining the emerging concepts of creative commons, open access and open source in intellectual property law. As well as consider a strategic reform framework that would enhance research and development by striking a balance between IPRS and users’ rights in Common wealth and other Common law countries.
The paper will provide comprehensive evidence that, the overall basic rationale for intellectual property protection is to organize in the best possible way human, economic and social relations, thus providing for a fair and reasonable distribution of the limited resources available. The paper brings to light the fact that protection of intellectual property is intended to be beneficial to the society. The protection should result in greater divulgence and dissemination of works and provoke future intellectual creativity and inventions. The outcome of the paper will assist Commonwealth countries in formulating and implementing regulatory regimes using policies, regulations and statute law to improve access to justice and human rights.

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