Research Handbook on Global Justice and International Economic Law

Research Handbook on Global Justice and International Economic Law

Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series

Edited by John Linarelli

The fairness of institutions of global economic governance ranks among the most pressing issues of our time. Most approaches to understanding the complex structure of treaties and intergovernmental organizations such as the WTO tend to uncritically accept an economic focus, highlighting gains from trade and the merits of progressive trade and investment liberalization. While the economic arguments are compelling, other ways of thinking about the roles of these institutions have received less attention. The Research Handbook fills this gap by offering a substantial interdisciplinary examination of the normative and policy underpinnings of the international economic order.

Chapter 7: Intellectual property rights and international economic governance

Carlos M. Correa

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, international economic law, trade law, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights

Extract

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) have become a key element in national strategies of technologically advanced countries, as they perceive that their economic performance depends more and more on their capacity to exploit the outputs of their creative and innovative activities. In an increasingly globalized market, a key element in those countries’ strategies is to ensure the international protection of IPRs. Less technologically advanced countries approach IPRs from a different perspective. They fear that IPRs will perpetuate the current technological superiority of developed countries and retard their own development. In fact, advanced countries have succeeded in substantially strengthening the international rules on IPRs, especially with the adoption of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement as one of the outcomes of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. This chapter examines, first, the historical evolution and inter- nationalization of intellectual property regimes since the end of the 19th century. Second, it addresses the main analytical issues raised by the IPR regime. It elaborates on the nature of knowledge as a public good and the static and dynamic effects of introducing exclusionary rights, particularly for follow-on innovation and for countries with different levels of social and economic development. Third, the chapter discusses the room left to governments in the context of the emerging international IPR system for the adoption of industrial and technological policies suitable to their own conditions and capacities, particularly for the acquisition and absorption of foreign technologies.

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