Real-Life Lessons for the Developing World
Chapter 4: Looking at the big picture: national innovation system
Since the introduction of the Agreement on the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual property Rights (TRIPS), the intellectual property (IP) landscape has changed dramatically. Eventually, intellectual property rights (IPRs) came to be linked with innovation. It is widely accepted that IPRs are economic assets that are necessary to develop world-class standards of innovation and creativity. Thus, they should be considered as forming part of a broader set of measures that are designed to optimise the development and utilisation of knowledge. While many scholars and international organisations approach IPRs simply from a legal angle, it is important to open up debate about IPRs as an essential component of innovation by integrating legal, political, technological and socio-economic considerations. The debates are still ongoing between countries, politicians, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academics on TRIPS and innovation. Nevertheless, one thing is clear – TRIPS still remains in place. Given the recent trend of free trade agreements (FTAs), we would be lucky if TRIPS continues to remain in place. A better understanding of the nature of TRIPS, and its components, can help to raise awareness of the need for a comprehensive innovation policy. Hence, it is important to outline the issues surrounding the concept of IPRs and innovation. The systematic promotion of innovation has arguably resulted in innovation becoming a part of the development agenda. Innovation, particularly in developing countries, increasingly takes both legal and economic scholars into account.
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