Knowledge for Development

Humanitarian use licences

Author: Sean Butler

Date: 28/07/2008

Introduction:

The concept of the Humanitarian Use Licence (HUL) would allow CGIAR and the Centres to work within existing intellectual property systems to ensure free access to intellectual property assets. Although the precise terms of the Licences are still under discussion, they could become the primary vehicle for providing effective access to proprietary technology for developing countries. The basis of the HUL is to use existing intellectual property mechanisms, such as licensing, to carve out or to retain rights that may be used in specific countries and by specific groups of people in those countries (‘users’ and ‘user countries’). In many ways, therefore, these licences can be understood simply as Field of Use/Territory licences or retentions.

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