16th August 2007 | Draft
Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities
a draft proposal
- / -
Discussion of the issues that are the focus of this proposal is
provided separately in
Rights to Patent Responsibilities: obligations incumbent on owners and licensors
of intellectual property
The following proposal is designed to focus the debate on those responsibilities
for use of intellectual property incumbent on owners of such property and
on those to whom use is granted by them in some way. This contrasts with
current practice in which any such responsibility is left to others, notably
regulatory authorities -- if they have been envisaged and irrespective of
whether they have an appropriate mandate and adequate means of imposing constraints
on use of the property.
As noted, the device used in formulating the above draft proposal is that
of a slight adaptation of the Universal
Declaration of Human Responsibilities, proposed by the InterAction
Council in 1997 (as amended in
1998) for consideration by the United Nations as a complement to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (1948). No action has since been
taken on the original proposal (available in many languages). In a reaction
to it, the UN approved a Declaration
on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of
Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms (53/144, 9 December 1998).
The focus on patent rights follows from an analogous draft proposal for
Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse (2007), derived
in the same manner -- and with which some relevant commentary is also associated.
Just as that proposal
benefitted from both a specific and a general connotation of "human
intercourse", that on this Universal
Declaration of Patent Responsibilities also benefits from multiple
connotations highlighted by the possibility of more specific variants:
- Universal Declaration of Responsibilities for Intellectual Property (namely
technical and otherwise)
- Universal Declaration of Responsibilities for Technical Patents (namely
- Universal Declaration of Evident Responsibilities (namely rendered
explicit in some way)
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the
inalienable rights of all members of the human family to intellectiual
property is the
foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world and
obligations or responsibilities,
whereas the exclusive insistence on patent rights can result in
conflict, division, and endless dispute, and the neglect of
responsibilities arising from ownership of such property can lead to lawlessness
whereas the rule of law and the promotion of human rights
on the readiness of men and women to act justly,
whereas global problems demand global solutions which can
achieved through ideas, values, and norms respected by all
whereas all people, to the best of their knowledge and
have a responsibility to foster a better social order, both
and globally, a goal which cannot be achieved by laws,
prescriptions, and conventions alone,
whereas human aspirations for progress and improvement
be realized by agreed values and standards applying to all
and institutions at all times,
whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights addresses itself
to the inalienable rights of humanity, and to the protection of
all people against abuse of power by governments or institutions
of governments, this proposed declaration is a moral appeal which
addresses itself to issues of conscience and ethical behaviour
relating to intellectual property. While governments are clearly
responsible for just and equitable laws, there are many matters
of conscience for which we must be our own judges.
The General Assembly
proclaims this Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities
as a common standard for all peoples and all nations, to the end
that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this
Declaration constantly in mind, should contribute to the advancement
of communities and to the enlightenment of all their
the peoples of the world thus renew and reinforce
already proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human
namely, the full acceptance of the dignity of all people;
inalienable freedom and equality, and their solidarity with
another. Awareness and acceptance of these responsibilities
for intellectiual property should
be taught and promoted throughout the world.
Fundamental Principles for Humanity
Every owner of intellectual property, regardless of
gender, ethnic origin, social status,
political opinion, language, age, nationality, or religion,
responsibility to ensure that its use enhances the treatment of others
in a humane way.
No owner of intellectiual property should thereby lend support
to any form of inhumane behavior; all people have a responsibility
to strive for the dignity and
self-esteem of all others.
In using their intellectual property, no person,
no group or organization, no state, no army or police stands above
good and evil; all are subject to ethical standards.
Everyone has a responsibility to promote good and to avoid
their use of intellectual property.
All people, endowed with reason and conscience, in their employment
of intellectual property, should
accept a responsibility to each and all, to families and communities,
races, nations, and religions in a spirit of solidarity:
What you do
not wish to be done to yourself, do not do to others.
Non-Violence and Respect for Life
Every person has a responsibility to respect life in their use
of intellectual property. No one has the right to
injure, to torture or to kill another human person through such
use, and notably through the use of patented technology.
This does not exclude the right of justified self-defense of individuals
Disputes between states, groups or individuals, regarding the
use of intellectiual property, should be resolved
without violence. No government should tolerate or
acts of genocide or terrorism, nor should make use of intellectual
property as a means of abusing women, children, or any other
civilians as instruments of war. Every citizen and
public official has a responsibility to use intellectual property
in a peaceful, non-violent way.
Every person generating intellectual property is infinitely
precious and must be protected
unconditionally from the consequences of their creativity.
The animals and the natural environment also demand protection
from such consequences. All people have
a responsibility to protect the air, water and soil of the earth
for the sake of present inhabitants and
Justice and Solidarity
Every person with a right to use intellectual property
has a responsibility to behave with integrity, honesty and fairness.
No person or group should rob or arbitrarily
deprive any other person or group of their own intellectual property.
All people employing intellectual property, given the necessary
tools, have a responsibility to
take into account, in doing so, the need to overcome poverty, malnutrition,
and inequality. Through their right to use of such property, they
should promote sustainable development all over
the world in order to assure dignity, freedom, security and
for all people.
All people employing intellectual property have a responsibility
to develop their talents through diligent endeavor; they should
have equal access to education and to
meaningful work. Everyone should lend support to the needy,
disadvantaged, the disabled, and to the victims of
discrimination and misuse of intellectual property.
All intellectual property and associated wealth must be used responsibly
with justice and for the advancement of the human race.
In the process of using such property, economic and
political power must not be handled as an instrument of
but in the service of economic justice and of the social
Truthfulness and Tolerance
All people employing intellectual property have a responsibility
to speak and act truthfully. No
one, however high or mighty, should speak lies. The right to
and to personal and professional confidentiality is to be
respected by those employing intellectual property.
No one is obliged to tell all the truth to everyone all the
With respect to use of intellectual property, no politicians,
public servants, business leaders, scientists,
writers or artists are exempt from general ethical
are physicians, lawyers and other professionals who have
duties to clients. It is for the professions and their members to
establish appropriate ethical codes relating to the use of intellectual
property which reflect the priority of general standards, such
as those of truthfulness and fairness.
With respect to use of intellectual property, and as an aspect
of it, the freedom of the media to inform the public and to criticize
the institutions of society and governmental actions is essential
for a just society. It is the responsibility of those involved
to exercise their freedom with a sense of responsibility and discretion.
While religious freedom must be guaranteed, the
of religions have a special responsibility to avoid
prejudice and acts of discrimination toward those of
beliefs regarding use of intellectual property. They should not incite
or legitimize hatred, fanaticism and
religious wars, but should foster tolerance and mutual
between all people employing intellectual property.
Mutual Respect and Partnership
All men and all women have a responsibility to show
one another and understanding in their partnership and any associated
use of intellectual property. No one should subject another person
to sexual exploitation or dependence. Rather,
sexual partners should accept the responsibility of caring
for the well-being of each other.
In all its cultural and religious varieties, bonds associated
with use of intellectual property require
love, loyalty and forgiveness and should aim at guaranteeing
security and mutual support.
Sensible family planning is the responsibility of every
couple in developing their intellectual property.
The relationship between parents and children should reflect
love, respect, appreciation and concern. No parents or other
should exploit, abuse or maltreat children.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as
any state, group or person any right to engage in any
activity or to
perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the
responsibilities, rights and freedom set forth in this
and in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights of
The only reference to obligations in the 1948 Universal
Declaration of Human Rights is Article: 29: "Everyone
has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development
of his personality is possible."
Not everyone at the time thought that was enough. Mahatma Gandhi, on
being consulted about that Declaration, wrote: "The Ganges of
rights originates in the Himalaya of responsibilities." Many
have continued to note the ineffectively addressed issues of Western
bias in the original Declaration -- resulting in the formulation of alternative
declarations, such as the Universal
Islamic Declaration of Human Rights (1401/1981).
Article 30 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights could therefore be usefully interpreted
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for
any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity
or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights
and freedoms set forth herein -- or to avoid any
responsibility set forth in the Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities.