Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Competition

Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Competition

Access to Essential Innovation and Technology

Abbe E.L. Brown

This detailed book explores the relationship between intellectual property, competition and human rights. It considers the extent to which they can and must be combined by decision makers, and how this approach can foster innovation in key areas for society – such as pharmaceutical drugs, communications software and technology to combat climate change.


Charlotte Waelde

Subjects: development studies, law and development, law - academic, competition and antitrust law, human rights, intellectual property law, law and development, politics and public policy, human rights


It gives me a great deal of pleasure to write the foreword for this book, Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Competition: Access to Essential Innovation and Technology, by Dr Abbe Brown. Abbe started her thesis at Edinburgh in 2003 and graduated in 2009. Not only did she produce an excellent piece of work during that time, but she also gave birth to her second son and was appointed a lecturer. The energy that drove Abbe to achieve so much during her time at Edinburgh has enabled her to develop the themes in this monograph. Abbe’s central concern has been to examine the extent to which competition and human rights law can be used to curb the sometimes excessive power that intellectual property can confer over access to and use of essential technologies. In making her argument, Abbe has made a significant contribution on several levels. She has developed what she calls the Human Rights Emphasis, an intriguing mechanism for ascribing values to human rights in order to balance them when faced with competing priorities in the quest for access to essential technologies. Developing the thesis that competition too can be used as curb on the excesses of the exercise of IP, Abbe combines an analysis of how competition and human rights together can combine to produce just results. This she illustrates by working through a series of examples, and in so doing Abbe is able to show how her contribution would enable courts to combine existing principles to deliver a...