Open Lectures on Intellectual Property for Commoning Medical Technologies

Intellectual property system purports to promote technological innovation and transfer of technology. However, the existence of IP system does not automatically guarantee the innovation and transfer of technology. Depending on the design and operation of IP system, it can either promote or hinder technological innovation. The transfer and dissemination of technology pledged by WTO members in the mid-1990s when IP standards were globalized by TRIPS Agreement has rarely been fulfilled. Rather, the TRIPS Agreement encouraged privatization and commercialization of technology.  Patenting on pharmaceutical products became globalized by the TRIPS Agreement. This makes harder and harder to realize commoning medical technology – pooling of medical technologies, constructing cooperative communities, and co-governing by the communities.

IP-based monopoly of medical technology prevents affordable medicines from being fairly accessed. IP sits behind the scenes that COVID-19 vaccines are treated as commodities of certain pharmaceutical companies not as a global public good. The same may go for COVID-19 treatments when they are available in the near future. The market-oriented drug production results in so-called “negligent diseases” where pharmaceutical companies possess IP but do not produce necessary medicines because profits are not expected. The monopoly price of medicines has soared to the point where even high-income countries are hard to afford.

IP system determines how knowledge and information are developed, produced, and distributed in our society, significantly affecting the quality of our life. But it is packaged in arcane legal documents, and too hard to understand. Knowledge Commune and Center for Health and Social Change provide an open lecture series to uncover the nature of IP system by tearing out the arcane legal packaging. The course consists of basic lectures and special lectures. The basic lectures are provided by chief researcher of Knowledge Commune and the special lectures are conducted by inviting foreign experts in the field of medical technology and IP.

Those who want to participate the basic lectures have to read intensively texts of the Patent Act and the TRIPS Agreement as amended in 2017 at least two times. The basic lectures were prepared for young activists. The special lectures may also be provided in the form of webinar co-organized by other CSOs and colleges.



Details of Program


23 December 2020

Heesob Nam | Patent Act (1)

Heesob Nam is a chief researcher of Knowledge Commune, a non-for-profit, civil society organization that pursues both research and campaign aiming at an open and shared knowledge. He is an advisor of the Presidential Commission on Policy Planning. Before founding Knowledge Commune in 2010, he worked as a sub-committee member for the National Human Rights Committee. Heesob Nam’s professional include intellectual property and human rights, on which topic he earned his PhD in law at the Queen Mary, University of London.


30 December 2020

Heesob Nam | Patent Act (2)


20 January, 3-5 PM KST

Heesob Nam | Patent Act (3)


26 January, 6-8 PM KST

Sangeeta Shashikant (TWN)  & Hu Yuan Qiong (MSF) | Vaccine democracy and role of local CSOs and progressive political parties

Sangeeta Shashikant is the coordinator of Third World Network’s Development and Intellectual Property programme. She has 15 years of research and advocacy experience in intellectual property and public policy matters, in particular, access to medicines. She monitors and engages with international discussions at the World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Trade Organization. She has authored and contributed towards several publications including Pandemic Preparedness: Creating a Fair and Equitable Influenza Virus and Benefit Sharing System.

Dr. Hu Yuan Qiong works as Senior Legal and Policy Advisor, Policy Coordinator for the Access Campaign of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors without Borders). She is also affiliated with the Law, Environment and Development Centre at the Law School, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her expertise concerns the interactions of human rights, intellectual property, access to medicines and innovation.

* Co-hosted by Knowledge Commune, Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society (KPDS), Association of Physicians for Humanism, Center for Health and Social Change (CHSC)

** English-Korean two way simultaneous interpretation is provided.


9 Februarym 6-8 PM KST

Heesob Nam | TRIPS Agreement (1)

* Zoom link:


16 February, 6-8 PM KST

James Love (KEI) | Alternative incentive models for producing and distributing medical products

James Love is Director of Knowledge Ecology International. His training is in economics and finance, and work focuses on the production, management and access to knowledge resources, as well as aspects of competition policy. The current focus is on the financing of research and development, intellectual property rights, prices for and access to new drugs, vaccines and other medical technologies, as well as related topics for other knowledge goods, including data, software, other information protected by copyright or related rights, and proposals to expand the production of knowledge as a public good. James Love holds a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a Masters in Public Affairs from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

* Zoom link:

** English-Korean two way simultaneous interpretation is provided


3 March 6-8 PM KST

Heesob Nam | TRIPS Agreement (2)

* Zoom link:


10 March 6-8 PM KST

Susan Sell (ANU) | Political economy of TRIPS and TRIPS-plus in the era of COVID-19

Susan Sell is a Professor at the Australian National University’s School of Regulation and Global Governance, and Emeritus Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University. She conducts research on the international politics of intellectual property and has published books, including Private Power Public Law, translated into Korean and Chinese, and Who Governs the Globe? She has published numerous articles and chapters on access to medicines and was a founding Board Member of Intellectual Property Watch and a member of the UN Secretary General’s expert advisory group to the High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines.

* Zoom link:

** English-Korean two way simultaneous interpretation is provided


24 March 6-8 PM KST

Thomas Pogge (Yale University) | Pharmaceutical innovation: Replacing monopolies with health impact rewards

Having received his PhD in philosophy from Harvard, Thomas Pogge is Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs and founding Director of the Global Justice Program at Yale. He co-founded Academics Stand Against Poverty, an international network aiming to enhance the impact of scholars, teachers and students on global poverty (, and Incentives for Global Health, a team effort toward creating new incentives that would improve access to advanced pharmaceuticals worldwide ( More information at

* Zoom link:

** English-Korean two way simultaneous interpretation is provided


31 March 6-8 PM KST

Heesob Nam | TRIPS-plus: KORUS

* Zoom link:


14 April 6-8 PM KST

Heesob Nam | TRIPS-plus: CPTPP, NAFTA 2.0, US-China FTA, RCEP

* Zoom link: