In a recently published encyclical letter, Pope Benedict XVI has taken a stand against strong patent rights because of they way that the exclusive rights of patents tend to promote wealth inequality at the expense of development in the world’s poorest countries.
“On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care.”
The intellectual property statements only make up a few lines in the 144-page letter. However, they fit with the overall theme – that relying solely on monetary greed as an incentive does not lead to the right kind of development and actually creates instability.
The letter does not edify official Church doctrine, but it is used by Church leaders around the world in setting priorities.
In response, the IPO released a statement that it is “working to educate on the incentives that IP rights provide for advancing knowledge and creating jobs.”