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Professor Gebru’s recent participation at International Law Week-end (Oct. 19-21, 2023) in New York City hosted by the American Branch of the International Law Association,

Beyond Multilateral Intellectual Property Law

Professor Gebru’s talk focused on the work of the World Intellectual Property Organization on intellectual property law, genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions. He remarked on the common denominators—five fundamental provisions—that should be included in a draft international treaty to break a negotiation deadlock at the Organization. His talk is timely, given a recent breakthrough in negotiations in which the Organization's General Assembly decided to hold a diplomatic conference that is anticipated to result in a new binding international treaty on intellectual property, genetic resources, and associated traditional knowledge. Professor Gebru's talk builds on three prior publications, which are freely available on the Social Sciences Research Network website.

Below is the panel description with a list of panelists and their institutional affiliations.

This panel discussed how the multilateral intellectual property system, managed primarily through the World Intellectual Property Organization and, since 1994, the World Trade Organization, necessarily interfaces with and often lags behind other policy fora in addressing key policy issues. The global pandemic produces one important case study as countries with less flexible intellectual property systems promoted by multilateral intellectual property agreements found it difficult to meet human rights obligations to promote health and access to science and culture. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has raised questions about the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the event of an armed conflict that require analysis of customary international and other sources beyond the main multilateral treaties. And new intellectual property policy innovations are being crafted in free trade agreements and domestic laws to address social and economic issues, including the regulation of artificial intelligence, that are not addressed adequately in the multilateral system. These and other issues to be discussed in this panel demonstrate how international lawyers and scholars must often look beyond multilateral intellectual property law.


  • Margaret Chon, Donald and Lynda Horowitz Endowed Chair for the Pursuit of Justice, Seattle University School of Law
  • Sean Flynn, Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law; Co-Chair, ABILA Committee on International Intellectual Property Law
  • Aman Gebru, Assistant Professor, University of Houston Law Center
  • Michal Shur-Ofry, Associate Professor, The Faculty of Law, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Peter K. Yu, Regents Professor of Law and Communication and Director, Center for Law and Intellectual Property, Texas A&M University School of Law; ABILA Vice-President & Co-Director of Studies; Co-Chair, ABILA Committee on International Intellectual Property Law

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