This chapter addresses the current imbalance in IP norms. The chapter explains that whereas IP rights today are often viewed primarily as corporate assets, that stands in marked contrast to their historical origins. Until a few decades ago, nations viewed IP as a policy lever for countries to promote innovation as one of a variety of policy goals, such that some countries limited IP rights to ensure access to other essentials such as affordable drugs. Against this backdrop, the chapter uses examples from the COVID crisis to highlight the problems of treating IP as primarily an asset of companies. Examples are included both at the national level in the US and in the global context. The chapter concludes by suggesting that COVID crisis can and should make nations more cognizant of the need to challenge notions of IP as primarily private assets.
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