Intellectual property

A diagram illustrating the key areas of law and policy for innovation and access Mapping the policy intersections: key areas of law and policy for innovation and access. Source: Promoting access to medical technologies and innovations, WHO 2012. Click here for a larger view.Intellectual property rights are exclusive rights, often temporary, granted by the state for the exploitation of intellectual creations. Intellectual property rights fall into two categories: rights relating to industrial property (invention patents, industrial designs and models, trademarks and geographical indications) and those relating to literary and artistic property (copyright). 

Intellectual property rights have an important role to play in stimulating innovation in health-care products in countries where financial and technological capacities exist, and in relation to products for which there are profitable markets. Monitoring the impact of trade and intellectual property rights on public health is one of the strategic areas of the work of the WHO.