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The Intellectual Property Debate

Perspectives from Law, Economics and Political Economy

Edited by Meir Perez Pugatch

Intellectual property (IP) has become one of the most influential and controversial issues in today’s knowledge-based society. This challenging book exposes the reader to key issues at the heart of the public debate now taking place in the field of IP. It considers IP at the macro level where it affects many issues. These include: international trade policy, ownership of breakthrough technologies, foreign direct investment, innovation climates, public–private partnerships, competition rules and public health where it is strongly embedded in contemporary business decision making.
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Chapter 1: A Critical Analysis of the TRIPS Agreement

Michael Blakeney


Michael Blakeney 1. INTRODUCTION Signature of the TRIPS agreement is one of the obligations which members of the WTO are obliged to undertake. The ostensible reason why this agreement was included in the constellation of undertakings which comprise the charter of a global free trade regime is that the infringement of intellectual property rights is claimed to be trade distorting. Intellectual property was included as a negotiating subject in the Uruguay Round of the GATT, largely on the evidence which was compiled by the USA that annual losses to US traders caused by the trade in infringing items totalled some $US60 billion, which represented an annual loss of some 200 000 jobs.1 These figures appear to have been compiled from evidence presented to Congressional hearings about the losses sustained by businesses from counterfeiting and piracy. There is an understandable tendency for traders to exaggerate the sales which they might have made if not for the presence of factors over which they have no control. Similarly large figures have been reported in Europe. For example, in its proposal for a counterfeiting Directive, the European Commission refers to a survey carried out in France in 1998 by KPMG, Sofres and the Union des Fabricants, which reported that the average loss to the businesses that replied to the survey was put at 6.4 per cent of turnover. It also refers to a 2000 study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) on behalf of the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group (GACG), which quanti...

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