Antony Taubman

Senior Fellow (Melbourne Law Masters)

World Trade Organization, Switzerland

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Antony Taubman has since 2009 served as Director of the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division, of the World Trade Organization (WTO), with responsibilities concerning the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), as well as the issue of trade and competition policy, entailing legal, policy, outreach, diplomatic, technical assistance, research, teaching and management aspects of these legal instruments and related policy issues, as well as dispute settlement. This role has included pioneering cross-cutting approach on holistic policymaking in the field of public health, involving a major initiative to build close practical cooperation and policy coordination between the World Health Organisation, the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the WTO, and playing a central role in the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, covering a wide range of intersecting public health, trade and intellectual property issues, cooperation and coordination with international organisations and initiatives, policy analysis and support for developing countries, support for renegotiation of international rules, engagement with civil society and the private sector, and the creation of new cross-cutting policy networks.

In this position, his contribution to promoting, mentoring and undertaking original research has included leading and contributing to a series of international collaborative research projects, culminating in the edited volumes Trade in Knowledge: Intellectual Property, Trade and Development in a Transformed Global Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2022), Competition Policy and Intellectual Property Rights in Today's World Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2021), and The Making of the TRIPS Agreement (WTO, 2015). He also conceived and led the development of a new peer-reviewed academic journal, the WIPO-WTO Colloquium Papers, published annually since 2010, that aims to showcase scholarship by emerging scholars across the developing world.

From 2002 to 2009, he was Director, Global Intellectual Property Issues Division of WIPO (including the Traditional Knowledge Division and Life Sciences Program), covering a wide range of programs on intellectual property and genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, the life sciences, and related global issues including the environment, climate change, human rights, food security, bioethics and indigenous issues. This work laid the groundwork for far-reaching reconsideration of the policy foundation and rationale of the IP system, especially its relevance and legitimacy from the point of view of Indigenous communities, following a significant expansion of Indigenous participants in the work of WIPO. Previous service for WIPO from 1995 to 1998 concerned development cooperation in Asia and the Pacific, the development of the revised WIPO program and budget, and associated policy development for emerging issues such as biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

From 1998 to 2001, he served as Director of the International IP Section of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and in that capacity was engaged in multilateral and bilateral negotiations on intellectual property issues, domestic policy development, regional cooperation, and TRIPS dispute settlement.  His previous duties as an Australian diplomat included postings as representative to the Preparatory Commission for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and First Secretary, Australian Embassy, The Hague, and as First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Tehran. He previously worked as a Disarmament Policy Officer in DFAT in Canberra.

Postgraduate teaching appointments at several universities include curriculum design and teaching at the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, and Queensland University of Technology, as well as numerous contributions to other educational and training programs in many countries. In 2008, the Rockefeller Foundation awarded him a Bellagio residential fellowship for his work on TRIPS and public policy issues.

His many scholarly publications cover the law and policy of IP and international IP in general, as well as the development dimension of IP in the digital economy, the interaction of IP with competition policy, international dispute settlement, Indigenous IP rights, traditional knowledge and biodiversity, public health and IP, and ethics and IP, as well as a training handbook on intellectual property and biotechnology, a monograph on the TRIPS Agreement and a comprehensive study on the implementation of TRIPS.

A registered patent and trademark attorney since 1987, he worked in private practice in the law of patents, trademarks and designs in Melbourne in the 1980s.

Melbourne University teaching responsibilities

Melbourne Law Masters

  • International IP Dispute Settlement in 2019, 2020 & 2023
  • Trade, Intellectual Property Rights and Public Health in 2011 & 2012
  • The Law and Practice of the TRIPS Agreement in 2001
  • Tutor, Classics Department, 1986-7

Memberships and affiliations

  • Fellow, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
  • Académico Correspondiente, Academia Nacional de Economía, Uruguay
  • Director, Cambia (The Lens)
  • Member, Governance Board, Medicines Patent Pool
  • Member, Expert Advisory Group, UN Secretary General High Level Panel on Access to Medicines
  • Honorary Adviser, Hong Kong Trade Development Council
  • Bellagio Residential Scholarship, Rockefeller Foundation
  • Registered Patent and Trade Mark Attorney, Australia and New Zealand