Edited by Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips
Chapter 16: Governing intellectual property rights and development
Compared to trade, production and finance, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have not been central to the study of international political economy. Nevertheless, their importance can hardly be overstated. Because they ultimately determine how knowledge - which some see as the 'new capital' - is generated, owned, controlled, protected and distributed, the mechanisms by which IPRs are governed have direct and profound consequences not only on the economy, but also on how societies create, learn, live and develop. IPRs are highly political, which is why their governance has been contested ever since its rudimentary beginnings in the sixteenth century. Today, contests over intellectual property (IP) have become ever more intense, especially since the negotiation and coming into force of the 1994 WTO TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement.
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