Innovation, Governance and the Institutional Environment
Edited by Birgitte Andersen
Chapter 4: If ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ is the Answer, What is the Question? Revisiting the Patent Controversies
4. If ‘intellectual property rights’ is the answer, what is the question? Revisiting the patent controversies* 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, http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals. 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...
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