African Development from the Outside: Lessons from the TRIPS Agreement and Intellectual Property Multilateralism

Special Event
February 21, 2017
Pound 201
Special Event

About Ruth L. Okediji:

Ruth L. Okediji holds the William L. Prosser Professorship and a McKnight Presidential Professorship at the University of Minnesota Law School where she teaches contracts, international intellectual property (IP), copyright, and trademarks. She is one of the foremost authorities on TRIPS, developing countries and international intellectual property law and is widely cited for her work on the design and implementation of IP norms in developing and least-developed countries.

Professor Okediji’s research and scholarship focuses on intellectual property, innovation policy, economic development and global knowledge governance. She has authored an extensive array of articles, commissioned papers and book chapters on the relationship among international intellectual property, multilateral trade and development.

Professor Okediji has consulted for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), several European Union (EU) technical assistance projects, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and has led numerous research and development assistance projects in Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. She served as an Advisor on Traded-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights to Nigeria and member countries of the South African Development Cooperation (SADC) with the Commercial Law Development Program at the U.S. Department of Commerce. In this capacity, she headed teams providing assistance in the development of national copyright policies in South Africa and Botswana.

From 2009-2012, Professor Okediji assisted the Governments of Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria in the implementation of IP policies and development-oriented regulatory frameworks consistent with the requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Professor Okediji served as the senior expert in the development of an ECOWAS competition law policy which was adopted into law by the ECOWAS Heads of State in 2008. In addition, she has participated as senior advisor in numerous projects aimed at preparing individual African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and regions for EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations, addressing topics in competition policy, public health, intellectual property and traditional knowledge.

In 2013, Professor Okediji was the lead technical negotiator for the Federal Government of Nigeria at the Diplomatic Conference to Conclude a Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities (Marrakesh VIP Treaty). In her capacity as Senior Technical Advisor to the Marrakesh VIP Treaty negotiations, Professor Okediji provided expert assistance to the 54 countries of the African Group at WIPO. She currently serves as the senior expert for Nigeria at the on-going WIPO negotiations for an international instrument for the protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions.

In 2015, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed Professor Okediji to his High Level Panel on Access to Medicines. Also in 2015, she was recognized by Managing IP as one of the world’s 50 most influential people in intellectual property law.