World Intellectual Property Organization

Speakers: Timothy W. Roberts

Tim Roberts is a Master of Arts (Chemistry) of the University of Oxford. He joined the international chemical company ICI in 1960, and until 1995 worked for ICI, and its successor company Zeneca, on global intellectual property matters, primarily patents: from 1987 to 1995 he was IP Manager of ICI Seeds and worked on genetically modified plants (including slow-ripening tomatoes). He left Zeneca in December 1995 to become an independent intellectual property consultant. He currently consults for the firm of Brookes Batchellor, London and is an associate of Khursheed Khan, Karachi.

He is

  • a British Chartered Patent Agent (since 1964);
  • a European Patent Attorney (since 1978);
  • General Editor of the European Patents Handbook;
  • a Past-President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents.

From 2001 to 2005 he was a member of the UK Government's Intellectual Property Advisory Committee. For the past ten years he has been a panel member of the Appeal Board of the European Plant Variety Rights Office.

He has served on several other bodies concerned with the impact of intellectual property law (IP) on plant biotechnology (or vice versa), including:

  • British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB);
  • International Seed Federation (ISF);
  • The International Chamber of Commerce (Intellectual Property Commission - currently Rapporteur).

He represented ICC in discussions (1987-1991) on amendment of the International Union for the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV). He attends the current WIPO discussions in the Intergovernmental Committee on Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and Folklore. He has lectured for UPOV and WIPO in Bangkok, Bogota, Cairo, Cambridge, Geneva and Nairobi.

In 1997-8 he chaired an international Expert Panel on Proprietary Science and Technology, set up by the World Bank to advise the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) on its intellectual property policy.

As a member of the multi-stakeholder Crucible Group, he played an active role in drafting and editing their two publications: "People, Plants and Patents", (IDRC, 1994) and "Seeding Solutions" (IDRC/Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, 2000): in connection with which he attended meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity (Conference of the Parties) in Nairobi, Bermuda and Montreal.

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