IPR Workshop

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Workshop on "An Alternative Perspective on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Information Technology (IT)"

Date: May 16, 2008

Venue: Hotel Annapurna, Kathmandu, Nepal.

1. Introduction

Intellectual property rights (IPRs), is a bundle of exclusive legal rights given to the author, producer or any other creator, the particular form or manner in which ideas are expressed, manifested or distributed (that is, written, recorded invented, designed etc). Like physical assets, ownership rights are given to the process of manufacturing, ingredients and their composition, cultural creations, artistic products etc. which are usually referred to as product of the mind or the intellect. IPR can take various forms like copyright, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, designs and work of art, trade or brand names, etc.

Information technology (IT) or information and communication technology (ICT) is a broad subject which deals with technology and other aspects of managing and processing information, especially in large organizations. Particularly, IT deals with the use of electronic computers and computer software to convert, store, protect, process, transmit, and retrieve information.( From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2008), Information technology [Online]. Available from :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Information_technology [Accessed 25 March 2008].)

2. The Context

Due to evolution of these ITs, we are in the midst of a revolution, perhaps the greatest that humanity has ever experienced. The world has undergone an phenomenal transformation in the recent past and the ITs has been the major agent of this change. On the contrary, inclusion of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in the World Trade Organization (WTO) followed by series International and bilateral agreements has brought IPR as an obstacle to this development. It has made it compulsory for all the WTO Members to ensure a minimum protection to IP. Most of the developing countries today, including those in South Asia, have enacted laws that provide protection to these IP provisions, they have failed to utilise the flexibilities in the WTO system to use IPRs as a tool to achieve their development objectives.

Examples from Thailand and Rwanda, who have used the flexibilities in TRIPS to provide cheaper HIV/AIDS drugs to their citizens. Similarly, India has enacted the Plant Variety Protection and Farmers’ Rights Act, which ensures that those who commercialise the knowledge or plant varieties that have been preserved and developed by farmers or local communities share the benefits with the latter. The developing countries can also use “geographical indications”, a form of IPR recognised by TRIPS, to promote their “indigenous products” in the international market. This can be true with respect to Nepal for liberating the flexibilities of fair use and relaxations provided for Nepal, it being LDC.

3. The Alternative perspective

In IT there is possibility of various alternatives of IPR needs which needs a different approach and which can establish an different perspective of the nation. Open Content (OC), Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) , Open Standards, Open Educational Resources (OER), GNU GPL, GNU LGPL, Creative Commons (CC), Open Access (OA) are few of the pioneers revolutions taking shape in the world of IT providing the alternative to stricter IPRs and facilitating free open dissemination of knowledge and supporting in poverty reduction. Following are few of the alternatives we will be sharing about in the workshop.

  1. Free Software
  2. Open Source Software
  3. Open Content
  4. Open Standards
  5. Creative Commons
  6. Copyleft
  7. Open Educational Resources
  8. Open Access
  9. Digital Commons
  10. Software Patents
  11. Web 2.0 Technology
  12. Citizen Journalism
  13. Inclusive Participation in Governance
  14. Internet Governance

4. Rationale

Most governments recognize a bundle of exclusive rights in relation to works of authorship, inventions, and identifications of origin. These rights are sometimes spoken of under the umbrella term "intellectual property." An example is copyright, which grants a copyright holder a negative right to exclude others from exploiting their artistic or creative work. The position is generally similar with patents and trademarks. Exclusive rights arise from a grant of patent or registration of a trademark, while in other cases such rights may arise through use (eg. copyright or common-law trademark). (Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. (2008). Exclusive right [Online]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclusive_right [Accessed 13 March 2008].)

The basic rationale behind having IPR is that it encourages innovation and benefit the economy, by giving the creator sole right to produce or distribute (for generating revenue) over a number of years, which can even last over 100 years. But they also pose various challenges to the developing countries, including Nepal. Nepal, like other developing countries lack the institutional, financial and human capacity to implement such regimes. Further, stronger protection and longer periods of monopolies to right holders, especially those on digital contents and software, are likely to make access to education, technology and knowledge expensive, and in most cases, out of the reach of the poor in these countries. Stronger IPR regimes espoused by TRIPS pose a threat of misappropriation of local and traditional knowledge, jeopardising the rights of their local, indigenous and farming communities. Furthermore, if proper safety nets are not introduced, these impacts are likely to deprive opportunity of development brought forward by this IT revolution.

Hence, it needs to be understood that strict IPR is not an solution to a country like Nepal. We need to look forward for a balanced approach towards our development. Here it needs to be taken into care that, the laws and policies that are formulated are in favor of the people's wellbeing and utilising the flexibilities in the WTO system. Nepal need to be cautious that it does not bind itself to implementing stricter IPR regimes than those required by the TRIPS Agreement. Also, it needs to refrain from “TRIPS plus” clauses imposed by some developed countries to ratchet up higher IPR standards through bilateral and regional trade agreements.(SAWTEE, Trade Insight v3 n2 2007, p. 2).

5. Goal and Objectives


Raise awareness on IPR issues and developments in IT to identify action items for incorporating alternative perspectives of IPRs in IT.


  1. Raise awareness on IPR issues in IT and developments happening.
  2. Identifying action items for including alternative perspectives of IPRs in IT.

6. Themes

The workshop will be focused on alternative perspective of IPR in following themes.

  1. Software
  2. Technology
  3. Content
  4. Internet: facilitating the Participation and Collaboration

7. Outputs and Outcomes

Expected Outputs

  1. Proceeding Report.
  2. Photographs of the workshop.

Expected Outcomes

  1. Awareness on alternatives of IPR issues in IT and development.
  2. Identification of actions items for incorporating the alternatives of IPRs in IT.
  3. Identification of new areas of collaboration among NITC, other department and FOSS Nepal community for addressing alternative aspects of IPR in IT.

8. Methodologies to be adopted

The major part of the workshop will consist of presentations on the selected themes by theme experts. The last session of the workshop will be designed to facilitate interaction among participants to identify the action items for incorporating the alternatives of IPRs in IT.

9. Participants & Resource Persons

Participants in the workshop will consist of people from varies government agencies, miniseries, academicians and from civil society. The workshop will be good mixture of 45-50 participants belonging to various miniseries.

The resource persons for the workshop will mix of international and national experts on various themes of alternative perspective of IPR in IT. Few prospective resource persons includes.

  1. Lawrence Liang (India)
  2. Sunil Abraham (India)
  3. Jamil (from Jamil and Jamil) (Pakistan)
  4. Fouad Bajawa (Pakistan)
  5. Rashid Naim (Bangladesh)
  6. Munir (Bangladesh)
  7. Bal Bhadur Mukhiya (Nepal)
  8. Hempal Shrestha (Nepal)
  9. Subir Pradhanang (Nepal)
  10. Jawalanta Shrestha (Nepal)
  11. Shishir Jha (Nepal)
  12. Baburam Aryal(Nepal)

10. About Organizers

National Information Technology Center (NITC):

The National Information Technology Center (NITC) was established in the year 2002 in line with IT Policy 2000 under the then Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). NITC has the main objective to build knowledge based society by supporting knowledge based institutions and industries as well as promote and develop Information Technology (IT) by making it accessible to the general public. Executive director of NITC has the primary responsibility to implement or get implemented the policy and the plan on information science and information technology, monitor and supervise the same and regulate the activities carried out by the private sector.

FOSS Nepal Community

FOSS Nepal Community is a team of volunteers who believe in the usage of Free/Open Source Software (FOSS). The primary objective of the community is to promote and diversify the usage of Free/Open Source Software in Nepal.

  • To raise awareness among general public, government bodies, private sector, civil society, educational institutions and media for expanding the scope of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) via Free and Open Source Software
  • To sensitize general public, government bodies, civil society and media for the implementation of e-governance by means of FOSS; the optimal solution for e-gov
  • Advocacy for Alternatives in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) specific to ICT
  • To enhance the capacity of IT professionals by promoting inclusion of Free and Open Source Software in educational system and providing platform for IT professionals to make them globally salable


1. Roles & Responsibilities of the Organizers for organizing workshop on "An Alternative Perspective on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Information Technology (IT)"

1. Roles & Responsibilities of FOSS Nepal Community:

S. N.
Concept Note and Proposal Finalization
Participant list (NITC and FOSS)
Resource Person (FOSS and NITC)
Program Agenda (NITC + FOSS)
Paper and Presentation
Designing of Marterials (Certificates/Token/Banners)
on hall logistic
(please add..)

2. Roles & Responsibilities of NITC:

S. N.
Concept Note Finalization Proposal endorsement
Date and Venue
Hotel confirmation and seating arrangements
Travel of International R.P
Participant invitation
Resource Person Invitation
Participant list (NITC and FOSS)
Resource Person (FOSS and NITC)
Program Agenda (NITC + FOSS)
Stationary and Other Materials (Resources)
on hall logistic
(please add..)

2. Program Agenda:

Program Agenda:
Workshop on "An Alternative Perspective on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in Information Technology (IT)"
Date: 16 May 2008

1. 8:30 -9:00 AM Registration Opens
Inauguration Session
9:00-10:00 AM
  • Opening and Welcome address: Dr. Subarna Shakya, Executive Director ,National Information Technology Center
  • Workshop Inauguration: Chief Guest Honorable Minister of Environment, Science and Technology:Mr. Farmullah Mansoor
  • Keynote speech: Mr. Fouad Riaz Bajwa, Pakistan
  • Special Guest's remarks: Honorable Vice Chairman, HLCIT, Mr. Saroj Devkota
  • Chief Guest's remarks: Honorable Minister of Environment ,Science and Technology: Mr.Farmullah Mansoor
  • Chair's remark and closing of Inauguration session: Secretary Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology: Mr. Narayan Prasad Silwal.

10:00 -10:30 AM Refreshment Break
Working Session 1
10:30 – 12:30 Session Chair : Mr.Laxman Mainali, Joint Secretary, MoEST

Moderator: Mr. Ranjan Baral, Computer Enigneer, NITC

  • IPR, IT and development

Mr. Fouad Riaz Bajwa and Adv. Hempal Shrestha

  • Alternative perspective of IPR in Software

Mr. Subir Pradhanang and Mr. Shishir Jha

  • Open Floor Discussions

3. 12:30- 1:30 PM Lunch Break
Working Session 2
4. 1:30 -3:30 PM Session Chair: Mr. Subir Pradhanan, President FOSS Nepal Community

Moderator: Mr.Sudeep Dangi, Computer Engineer, NITC

  • Alternative perspective of IPR in Technology and Internet

Mr. Jwalanta Shrestha and Mr. Ankur Sharma

Md. Rashidul Hassan Naim, BdOSN, Bangladesh

  • Alternative perspective of IPR in Content and E.Learning 2.0

Adv. Baburam Aryal and Adv. Hempal Shrestha

Mr. Subodh Tripathee

  • Open Floor Discussions

5. 3:30 -4:00 PM Refreshment Break
Working Session 3
6. 4:00 -5:00 PM Session Chair: Mr. Manohar Bhattrai, Full Time Member , HLCIT

Moderator: Adv. Hempal Shrestha

  • Open Discussion session for Identifying actions items for including alternative perspective to IPRs in IT in different government initiatives.

  • Special Remarks: Dr.Jeoung Keun Lee, KOICA Expert on ICT, National Information Technology Center
  • Concluding Remarks by Dr.Subarna Shakya, Executive Director , NITC
  • Votes of thank Ms.Sushmita Pote, Secretary , ACEN

3. Glossary and Other Reference Materials


  • Intellectual property laws are designed to protect different forms of subject matter, although in some cases there is a degree of overlap.
  • Copyright may subsist in creative and artistic works (e.g. books, movies, music, paintings, photographs, and software) and give a copyright holder the exclusive right to control reproduction or adaptation of such works for a certain period of time (historically a period of between 10 to 30 years depending on jurisdiction, but more recently the life of the author plus several decades). Throughout the EU and EEA, under the Duration Directive (or the Term Directive), the copyright term for literacy, artistic and other works is life of the creator plus 70 years.[1]
  • A patent may be granted for a new, useful, and non-obvious invention, and gives the patent holder a right to prevent others from practising the invention without a license from the inventor for a certain period of time (typically 20 years from the filing date of a patent application).[2]
  • A trademark is a distinctive sign which is used to distinguish the products or services of different businesses.
  • An industrial design right protects the form of appearance, style or design of an industrial object (e.g. spare parts, furniture, or textiles).
  • A trade secret (which is sometimes either equated with, or a subset of, "confidential information") is secret, non-public information concerning the commercial practices or proprietary knowledge of a business. Public disclosure of trade secrets may sometimes be illegal.
  • Patents, trademarks, and designs rights are sometimes collectively known as industrial property, as they are typically created and used for industrial or commercial purposes. (Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. (2008). Intellectual property [Online]. Available from : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property_rights [Accessed 13 March 2008].)