LIGHTNING RELEASES (6/11/2014) – In Seoul, on July 2-3, South Korea will host an APEC Conference on Appropriate Technology, which will include two days of discussions and keynote presentations on various strategies for fostering economic growth among today’s developing nations.

Ever since its proposition, the aim of the conference has been to enhance APEC’s capacity for utilizing intellectual property (IP) strategies tailored towards developing economies, as well as to raise awareness on the importance of appropriate technology (AT) in APEC economies.  The conference is rooted in the “IP-based knowledge sharing for sustainable development” initiative, which was endorsed at the 36th IPEG meeting in January 2013.

Appropriate technology makes the best use of locally available resources to ensure an adequate supply of the basic necessities of life: clean water, food, energy, etc. Through the use of patent-related information (especially information that pertains to published or expired patents) emerging economies can develop whatever affordable technology best aligns with their social, economic, and environmental circumstances, leading to an increase in overall living standards.

Specifically geared toward the developing world, appropriate technology improves quality of life without resorting to exorbitant costs, extensive labor, or environmental disruptions. These inventions are tailored to the unique aspects of the community/country for which they are intended.

In much of the world—and developing nations, in particular—awareness of AT is incredibly limited, even though its impact on the “unseen” world has been unprecedented in terms of positive outcomes. A sampling of AT “success stories” include:

  • Q-Drum – a water container that can be easily transported by rolling
  • Lifestraw – a personal, low-cost water purification tool
  • Bicycle Pump – a bicycle-powered water pump

APEC economies—and developing member economies, in particular—will have the opportunity to learn useful strategies for producing appropriate technology through the utilization of IP information. Moreover, the conference hopes to foster an interest in sustainable development for member economies, as well as strengthen the technical capacity of developing communities.

Through discussion and shared experiences, the conference will help to disseminate information gained from case studies, thereby determining the best possible AT strategies. The primary objective is to increase global understanding and awareness of the importance of appropriate technology in developing communities, while also providing a forum for discussing methods for their implementation through the use of IP.

The conference will be held at the Imperial Palace Hotel in Seoul, South Korea on July 2-3, 2014, and invitations to all APEC member economies have already been sent. Attendees will include representatives from governmental organizations within the fields of trade, IP, and community development, along with NGOs, enterprises, and experts in AT commercialization and development.

Participants will include: Richard Kuhlmann, CEO of Q-Drum; Kifle Shenkoru, Director of WIPO; and Lyndon Frearson, general manager of the Center for Appropriate Technology. Wednesday and Thursday will be two information-packed days of talks on such topics as “IP Knowledge Sharing” and “International Trends in AT Development.” There will also be group and panel discussions on IP strategies for the promotion of appropriate technology, as well as for determining what kind of AT should be implemented in particular regions. 

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