Professor Lea Shaver in Consultancy with the United Nations Regarding Right to Science and Culture


Farida Shaheed and Lea ShaverProfessor Lea Shaver will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, in June to present her research on the impact of intellectual property regimes on human rights. She’s specifically been examining how IP laws affect the right to science and culture.

“It’s an honor to be entrusted with this,” Professor Shaver said of her task. “This is such a niche area of law, and to have it find its way to people who can impact policy is exciting.”

This is an extension of Professor Shaver’s work that caught the notice of the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Farida Shaheed. Professor Shaver’s 2010 article “The Right to Science and Culture,” was published in the Wisconsin Law Review, and was cited by Shaheed in a report to the UN, which was adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in July 2012. Professor Shaver traveled to Geneva in October 2013 to present at the “Seminar on the Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress and its Applications,” where she also met with Shaheed. The possibility of a consultancy was talked of at that time, and came to fruition during the spring 2014 semester, Professor Shaver said.

She’s preparing a report for the UN, based on her expertise on the right to science and culture, and is aiming it at an audience that will be made up of non-lawyers. Professor Shaver’s report will detail intellectual property law for policy makers and human rights advocates.

“I feel like I’m teaching,” she said. “I’m attempting to frame IP law, beginning and ending with human rights.”

Professor Shaver will make a public presentation on her report in Geneva on June 6. That will be followed by a two-day workshop devoted to her findings where other experts will weigh in and offer their feedback.

“This is a great opportunity as a scholar,” Professor Shaver said. “Two days of engagement on my topic; this is exciting. I’m honored to have been asked to play this role.”

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