Intellectual Property and Human Rights

Intellectual Property and Human Rights

A Paradox

Edited by Willem Grosheide

In the modern era where the rise of the knowledge economy is accompanied, if not facilitated, by an ever-expanding use of intellectual property rights, this timely book provides a much needed explanation to the relationship between intellectual property law and human rights law.

Chapter 1: General introduction

Willem Grosheide

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, intellectual property law, politics and public policy, human rights


Willem Grosheide* 1. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS: RELATED ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT1 It may be said that intellectual property law and human rights law share a related origin. Both stem from Western European societal developments starting in the nineteenth, if not already in the eighteenth century.2 The indicated societal developments were of three kinds. The first was the rapid industrialization and economic growth that affected countries unevenly and that was underpinned to a large extent by scientific, technological and cultural innovations. The second was a growing divide between the countries affected by * Willem Grosheide is Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Centre for Intellectual Property Law (CIER), Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, Utrecht University and attorney at law with Van Doorne, Amsterdam. 1 In what follows I use intellectual property law as a generic term referring to the legal system with regard to intellectual property rights, being rights with regard to the commercial and non-commercial use of information. Until far into the twentieth century it was customary to refer in this respect to industrial and intellectual property rights. Industrial was used to cover trade-related areas like patent law, designs law and trademark law; intellectual was used to refer to culturerelated copyrights. Particularly since the conclusion of the WIPO Treaty in 1967 it is conventional to use the term intellectual property to refer to both industrial and intellectual property rights. Note that this terminology is broader than the one used in Article 1(2) TRIPS A. Taking into account...