World Intellectual Property Organization
Hello, and welcome to the World Intellectual Property Organization!
My name is Roger Jin, and I am a junior at Harvard College, studying chemistry. I am originally an Ohioan, but I have grown to love Boston in my year and a half here and I hope you enjoy your time in one of America’s premier cities. Although I did not do Model UN in high school, I have become an active participant in Model UN since coming to college, and even directed the Commission on Science and Technology for Development at HNMUN last year. Model UN, for me, has been so insightful and fascinating, exposing me to new facets of the world that I would never have come across.
Part of what makes Model UN so fascinating is the ability to focalize on issues that do not necessarily get the attention that they deserve. One of the issues that I find so fascinating, and am excited to be able to explore in this committee, is intellectual property rights. With the advent of the internet and burgeoning developments in information technologies, the raw number of accessible ideas has expanded substantially. Because of the flow of information has expanded so greatly in the past twenty years, new and innovative ideas have become the primary currency of the 21st century, much more so than in previous years. The growing importance of ideas in the global marketplace necessitates increased security of said ideas, to both reward and incentivize creative minds around the world. Protecting ideas, the backbone of innovation, is the prerogative of WIPO and its role as vanguard will only grow in coming years.
Model UN has always been, for me, a forum to discuss some of my opinions, to research and understand topics that I find interesting. However, Model UN should be just as much about listening as it is speaking, about gaining perspective and trying to understand the motives behind international relations. I am sure each of you will have something incredible and meaningful to add to the lively discussion we will have over the next few days and I look forward to seeing what we as a body can accomplish!
Director, World Intellectual Property Organization
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017
Topic Area A: Corporate and Economic Espionage
Corporate and economic espionage are two similar methods of illicitly obtaining trade secrets and differ only in their agents. Corporate espionage, also known as industrial espionage, involves companies obtaining trade secrets from other companies, while economic espionage involves state or state-sponsored actors obtaining trade secrets from companies. According to the FBI, economic espionage caseload has risen 53% from 2014 to 2015, with attackers focusing increasingly more on consumer products manufactured by small to mid-size firms. The issue can even have substantial geopolitical implications, with Lockheed-Martin reporting in 2009 that stealth technology from the F-35 fighter jet was compromised.
Because of the nature of the problem, corporate and economic espionage seem to be inextricably linked, and solving only one of these issues would be insufficient in combatting the rise in copyright and patent violations. In order to ensure the global marketplace is secure and competitive, establishing international guidelines for preventing such actions is of paramount priority. Furthermore, with the rise of information technologies, the WIPO must also demarcate terabytes of essentially lawless cyberspace in order to fully address intellectual property violations from state and industry actors.
A main controversy in the debate would be resolving the issue of haves versus have nots, especially if certain agents are benefiting much more than others are. Resolving the issue will require compromise, and I hope that the delegates can come toward consensus in reducing the prevalence of this practice.
Topic Area B: Pharmaceuticals
The pharmaceuticals of today have done tremendous good, treating and preventing countless diseases that previously plagued humanity. However, their impact and accessibility in the developing world is dramatically lower than that of the developed world due to high costs.
On one hand, removing patents for pharmaceutical products could help save the 3 million people who die annually from preventable diseases. On the other hand, removing patents altogether would have substantial future impacts, disincentivizing large pharmaceutical firms from developing new drugs and decreasing revenue used for research and development. The argument turns from a simple plea for cheaper drugs to a dilemma between saving living people or the unborn masses. A previously apparent moral question turns into a modern day “Trolley Problem.”
To sustain current pharmaceutical developments, any solution to the issue requires a mediation between the two extremes. It is up to the WIPO then to find efficient, efficacious means of distributing affordable, patented drugs to the developing world while ensuring that progress be made in ameliorating the health crises of the developed world. Though one could try to reduce this issue into one of developing and developed, drug development is a decidedly human issue: the impacts of this debate will eventually be felt by all mankind and thus deserves the utmost care and attention.