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Intellectual Property Rights

Innovation, Governance and the Institutional Environment

Edited by Birgitte Andersen

Intellectual Property Rights is cutting edge in addressing current debates affecting businesses, industry sectors and society today, and in focusing not only on the enabling welfare effects of IPR systems, but also on some of the possible adverse effects of IPR systems.
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Chapter 4: If ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ is the Answer, What is the Question? Revisiting the Patent Controversies

Birgitte Andersen


* Birgitte Andersen ABSTRACT A typology of the rationales for intellectual property rights (IPRs), primarily in relation to patents, is developed. The focus is on natural rights and moral rationales, economic incentive rationales, increased competition and ‘market protection of entrepreneurial talent’ rationales, and the economic rationales of organizing science, technology and creativity. Whilst reviewing the controversies surrounding IPR legislation, the importance of this typology is justified. It will provide a good conceptual underpinning and analytical framework for achieving a finer empirical understanding of the social and economic effects of IPRs, and this understanding is urgently needed when designing policy fostering the knowledge-driven techno-economic paradigm in the twentieth first century. Keywords: Intellectual property rights (IPRs), Patents, Rationales, Typology, Policy 1 INTRODUCTION Capturing value from intellectual capital and knowledge-based assets has become the new mantra. The battles are not for control of raw materials, but for the control of the most dynamic strategic asset, namely ‘productive knowledge’. Finding ways in which institutions can help firms with this increasingly important practice has become an explicit agenda for many governments. * Reproduced from Birgitte Andersen, (2004), “If Intellectual Property Rights” is the answer, what is the question? Revisiting the patent controversies’, Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 13 (5), 417–42, 109 110 The rationales for intellectual property rights revisited Meetings in industry, national governments and international agencies as well as consultants seem to indicate a consensus or belief that increased privatization and recognition of the intellectual capital and knowledgebased assets of firms...

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