Intellectual Property Rights as Foreign Direct Investments
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Intellectual Property Rights as Foreign Direct Investments

From Collision to Collaboration

Lukas Vanhonnaeker

This discerning book examines the interface between intellectual property and foreign direct investments to consider one key question: how does the international investment law framework and the international legal regime regulating intellectual property converge? The book scrutinizes circumstances in which and to what extent international investment law’s traditional protective standards apply to intellectual property rights investments and contributes to debate surrounding the fragmentation of international law, arising from its expansion and diversification.
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Lukas Vanhonnaeker


Faced with growing international economic integration and the expansion of international transactions, coupled with the increasing emphasis on intellectual property, IPRs investments are becoming more important, especially taking into account the fact that such intangible assets often constitute at least part of the value of an investor’s investment and are frequently among the most valuable assets owned by corporations. In addition, IP is not necessarily protected to the same extent depending on the jurisdiction where the investment is made. This lack of efficient protection might be voluntary, such as in developing countries that, by recognizing IP as a critical tool to foster social (for public health purposes, for example) and economic (to enhance competitiveness, for example) development, prefer to emphasize the importance of sharing technology rather than protecting it by granting strict proprietary rights (i.e. IPRs). It is this global context, in which this study finds its roots, that has led us to analyse various topics gravitating around one common thread: the interaction between two distinct legal regimes: international investment law and international intellectual property law (mainly regulated by the TRIPs Agreement). The first topic that was tackled focused on the definition of ‘investment’ itself and consisted in asking whether IPRs and IP more generally could qualify as such both under IIAs and the ICSID Convention.

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