Chapter 1: The Continuing Challenge of Global Intellectual Property Rights
Robert C. Bird* and Subhash C. Jain** INTRODUCTION Intellectual property law was traditionally an obscure and highly technical discipline usually dealt with by lawyers (Yu, 2004). In the 1980s, however, international protection of intellectual property became an important trade-related policy issue for the United States. Today, the United States stands as a global leader in its trade in ideas (Spero, 1990), and the result has been sustained high-wage jobs arising from these innovations (Ketels, 2007). Intellectual property has been one important source of American global leadership. In 2003, trade in intellectual property in the United States produced a $28.2 billion surplus, a 5 per cent increase over the previous year (National Science Board, 2006). US ﬁrms have obtained competitive advantages from intellectual property rights by licensing a new technology or generating revenue from a useful patent. Intellectual property rights have also protected brand equity by controlling use of ﬁrm tag-lines and symbols. Intellectual property rights have helped implement vertical and horizontal product diﬀerentiation, convey information, raise entry barriers, and create power with suppliers who want to associate with a successful brand (Reitzig, 2004). The United States and other industrialized countries argue that technological superiority is the cornerstone of their competitiveness. Because intellectual property rights foster creativity in high technology, strengthening its protection has been a priority for these nations. Advocates of stronger protection argue that without protection, businesses will not be willing or able to invest adequate resources in the development of new products. Consequently, US competitiveness will decrease...
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