Innovation, Governance and the Institutional Environment
Edited by Birgitte Andersen
Birgitte Andersen We have experienced a growing importance of intellectual capital and intangible assets and an increased tendency for ﬁrms and public institutions to privatize, by the use of patents or copyrights, their knowledge assets and creative expressions. Because control over the use of an intellectual property right (IPR) requires ownership or a licence, the growing importance of knowledge-based assets and creative expressions has been accompanied by recognition that patents and copyrights represent strategic assets for those who own and control them. It is therefore not surprising that, in recent years, the pace at which individuals, ﬁrms and the public sector are using IPRs to privatize knowledge-based assets and creative expressions has been accelerating. This trend has been enhanced by the view of many in industry, government and international agencies that the privatization of the intellectual capital and knowledge-based assets of individuals and ﬁrms provides many advantages (for example, competitive advantage), and we have seen an increased enforcement of IPR regimes worldwide. At the international DRUID (Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics) conference on Industrial Dynamics, Innovation and Development, held at Elsinore, Denmark, 12–14 June 2003, there was a round table discussion regarding the belief systems underpinning IPRs and the increased enforcement of IPR regimes worldwide. The fact that IPR policy has been largely based on the ‘vision’ of policy makers rather than on the ﬁndings of solid empirical research was discussed; and within the IPR research community, the social and economic effects of tightening the IPR systems are...