This valuable intangible profoundly affects commerce, culture, education, health, nutrition and other core economic, social and humanitarian issues. Access to and exchanges of all sorts of information are, therefore, integral to development. Knowledge pertaining to revolutionary digital and biological technologies is currently governed by a global regime of institutions and agreements on trade, intellectual property (IP) and related topics.
The last decades of the 20th century were marked by an unprecedented convergence between intellectual property lawmaking and global trade policy. Bilateral, plurilateral and international agreements led to the harmonization of IT/IP standards throughout the world. International IT/IP policy was focussed primarily on the trade agendas of a few developed countries. The social and economic interests of countries with emerging economies were largely ignored.
The dynamic global economic landscape of the 21st century requires rethinking international IT/IP policies. New norms are challenging the substance of existing IT/IP rules, as the networked information economy offers previously unimaginable opportunities. The procedures for creating international IT/IP laws are changing, as emerging economic powerhouses insist upon equitable participation in negotiations with full information and without coercion. The forums for debating law and policymaking processes are shifting, as the issues affect national, regional and international institutions and interests in a range of fields.
Canadians are well positioned to help shape emerging IT/IP paradigms. Canada has first-hand experience with what has become a template for bilateral agreements in this area, NAFTA, and was among the key players in negotiations over the single most important international instrument in the field, TRIPs. At the same time, Canada is a net importer of IT/IP, and shares many of the concerns of countries with emerging economies. As the EDGE network's IT/IP research theme leader, Professor deBeer will explore some of the implications of the new global IT/IP framework, and propose incisive strategies and recommendations to secure Canada's leadership role in this area.
Professor Jeremy F. deBeer is a law professor at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law. He specializes in intellectual property and related areas of law/litigation. Prior to joining the faculty's law and technology group, Professor deBeer was awarded a BCL (First Class) from the University of Oxford. He also holds a LL.B (Silver Medallist with Great Distinction) and a B.Comm (Great Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan, and has studied law at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He has won numerous academic prizes and scholarships at each University. Professor deBeer is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, who was employed previously by the Department of Justice, as legal counsel to the Copyright Board of Canada. He was law clerk to the Honourable Mr. Justice A.M. Linden of the Federal Court of Appeal, and has worked at the law firm of Macleod Dixon LLP in Calgary, Alberta. Professor deBeer is the Information Technology and Intellectual Property research theme leader with the EDGE Network (Emerging Dynamic Global Economies), a group of leading thinkers in international economics, business, law, political science and public policy. He sits on numerous boards and committees, including the Internal Advisory Board of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, the Review Board of the Indian Journal of Law & Technology in Bangalore, India, and the 45th Circuit Program Committee of the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation. His own research revolves around various aspects of intellectual property. Professor deBeer has recently written about the constitutional implications of copyrights, digital rights management systems and levies, as well as the role of copyrights in the music and entertainment industries and the notion of balance in intellectual property law. Ongoing projects address the relationship between patents, tort law, biotechnology, the environment, population health, food security and other humanitarian issues. Professor deBeer is also interested in administrative law and litigation, and has experience arguing on this subject at the appellate level. He is co-author of Standards of Review of Federal Administrative Tribunals, now entering its third edition. Professor deBeer teaches an introductory course on Property Law, which covers contemporary and engaging issues in real, personal and intellectual property. He also teaches Digital Music Law, a survey of the legal, technological, cultural and economic developments in the global music industry. He has previously taught Torts and Legal Research & Writing.