New Horizons in Intellectual Property series
This book explores the manner in which the R&D-based pharmaceutical industry in Europe organized and operated between 1995 and 1999 in order to secure its interests with regard to the agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The TRIPs agreement represents a major increase in the global protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs). In fact, the agreement contradicts the general direction of the WTO, that is trade liberalization, since it increases the monopolistic features of international trade in knowledge products. The research was motivated by one basic and fundamental question: why and how is such a strong international intellectual property agenda in place? A pure economic approach does not provide a sufﬁcient and satisfactory explanation for the creation of IPRs. For example, economists cannot conclude whether patents confer a net beneﬁt or entail a net loss to society. This is due mainly to the structural trade-off built into the patent system: that by aiming to increase the amount of available knowledge in the future, the system represses the free and widespread use of available knowledge in the present. The international IP system, as exempliﬁed by TRIPs, is even more difﬁcult to explain in purely economic terms, particularly with respect to the uneven distribution of IPRs between ʻnorthernʼ and ʻsouthernʼ countries. The importance of IPRs to future economic growth, foreign direct investment and technology transfer is also in dispute. As an alternative to an explanation based on global...