From Collision to Collaboration
Elgar International Investment Law series
The current international commercial scene is characterized by a crossroads between the ‘globalization of economic activities and the expansion of international transactions involving knowledge intensive products’ or, between international investment law and intellectual property law. Intellectual property (IP) is by now widely recognized as a critical asset for corporations ‘[i]n a global economy increasingly based upon conceptual products, converged technologies and international networks’. However, with ‘great importance and value . . . comes increased exposure and risk’.3 Already confronted by risks of counterfeiting and struggling with free-riders, IP owners, and especially corporations owning IP who are increasingly dependent on transnational activities in a trade context defined by the intertwinement of national economies, must face an additional risk by doing business in countries that do not share the same commitment to property rights and whose IP regimes differ substantially from the one of their Home Country. The territorial aspect of intellectual property rights (IPRs) means that there is a separation of, on the one hand, the IPR as such, which is grounded in domestic laws and whose effects are limited to the national territory at stake, and, on the other hand, the protected asset (e.g. a good, a name, an invention . . .) that crosses borders, not necessarily accompanied by its associated IPR.