The International Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights

The International Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights

New Horizons in Intellectual Property series

Meir Perez Pugatch

This book investigates the realm of intellectual property rights (IPRs) within the context of international political economy. In particular, it examines the extent to which powerful interest groups, such as pharmaceutical multinational companies, influence the political dynamism underlying the field of IPRs. Meir Perez Pugatch argues that a pure economic approach does not provide a sufficient or satisfactory explanation for the creation of intellectual property rights, most notably patents. The author instead suggests that a dynamic approach, based on the international political economy of interest groups and systemic outcomes, provides a better starting point for explaining how the international intellectual property agenda is determined.

Chapter 3: Economic and Political Explanations for the Emergence of a Stronger International IP System

Meir Perez Pugatch

Subjects: economics and finance, intellectual property, international economics, law - academic, intellectual property law


INTRODUCTION 3.1 To understand the emergence of a stronger international IP system one must shift oneʼs attention from the perspective of the community as a whole to that of the individual country. The ability to create new types of IP-related products varies between countries. Also different are the costs and benefits that these countries face when deciding whether to support, or to oppose, a stronger international IP agenda. This chapter reviews and assesses some explanations concerning countriesʼ decisions to commit themselves to a stronger international IP system. For clarity, it makes a distinction between ʻnorthʼ (developed) and ʻsouthʼ (developing) that is between capable and less-capable countries in the field of IP, in order to study the effects of a stronger international IP system. The distinction, as will later be shown, is both theoretically and empirically valid. The chapter assumes the existence of two major elements in the international IP system. The first and most fundamental element is the principle of ʻnational treatmentʼ, requiring member countries to treat the nationals of other countries no less favourably than their own. National treatment will thus enable foreigners to exploit their IPRs in countries other than their own. Yet, since countries may still have considerable gaps in the scope of their IP legislation, the principle of national treatment in itself is insufficient. For example, under the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property in 1883, in which the principle of national treatment was first adopted with regard to IPRs, both Switzerland and...

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