Chapter 9: Ensuring the Benefits of Intellectual Property Rights to Development: A Competition Policy Perspective
Yusong Chen1 BACKGROUND: GLOBAL PROLIFERATION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND CHALLENGES FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES The past several decades have seen a significant proliferation of intellectual property rights (IPRs) across the world. Among these developments, a concrete step was the conclusion of the WTO TRIPS Agreement,2 which has substantially increased global IPR protection levels in the following ways: (1) for the first time, it provides comprehensive harmonized minimum standards for almost all kinds of IPRs, and extends IPR obligations for many developing countries (Finger and Schuler, 1999); (2) it stipulates, also for the first time in international treaties, extensive enforcement obligations for all WTO Members; (3) it incorporates an effective dispute settlement system within the WTO framework. The requirements for a high level of IPR protection in the TRIPS Agreement have brought enormous challenges for developing countries. They are very sceptical that high incentives would bring technologies and innovations quickly and automatically (Sakakibara and Branstetter, 2001). In fact, fostering domestic innovation and creativity is a long-term process and depends on various local conditions,3 which may not exist in many developing countries (UNCTAD, 1996). At the same time, developing countries may suffer seriously from huge social costs arising from IPRs. Perhaps the most significant challenge for developing countries is that sometimes protection of IPRs may also lead to barriers for 189 190 Intellectual property enforcement innovation and development. It should be pointed out that patents, copyrights, trademarks, industrial designs, and so on are private rights owned by right-holders participating in market...
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