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Branislav Hazucha

Over the last few decades, bilateral and regional free trade agreements have been frequently criticized for imposing too-high standards of intellectual property protection on developing countries by powerful developed economies. As those standards tend to be higher than the ones recognized and required on the international level, it is usually argued that such an approach can hinder developing countries in designing their national policies in a way that allows them to catch up with advanced countries in terms of economic development and technological progress. This chapter questions that criticism and shows that although bilateral and regional free trade agreements lead to international harmonization on ever-higher levels of intellectual property protection, they still provide enough room for regulatory competition between individual countries so that they can further their national policies in the field of innovation and technological progress. Individual countries can thus design their science and technology policies in the way which fits to the needs of their economies and industries.

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Branislav Hazucha, Hsiao-Chien Liu and Toshihide Watabe