Contestation Over the Ownership, Use, and Control of Knowledge and Information
Edited by Sebastian Haunss and Kenneth C. Shadlen
Chapter 6: Lobbying or Politics? Political Claims Making in IP Conflicts
Sebastian Haunss and Lars Kohlmorgen1 INTRODUCTION 1. In the official declaration of the 2007 G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, the heads of government of the eight most powerful industrialized countries gave the “protection of intellectual property rights” top priority. In fact, IP protection was mentioned in their final statement even ahead of climate change, as a political issue of crucial importance, preceded only by global economic growth, the stability of financial markets, and the freedom of investment. The statement stressed that “Innovation is one of the crucial drivers of economic growth in our countries. . . . The protection of IPRs is of core interest for consumers in all countries, particularly in developing countries” (G8 2007, 2). This prominent placement reflects the growing importance of the politics of intellectual property, which has changed over the last 15 years from a field of technical expertise to an increasingly contentious global political issue. How did the protection of intellectual property (IP) become such a high-level issue? And how has the idea that strong intellectual property regimes should be a central component of any global trade regime become the dominant view? Susan Sell (2003) shows in her study of the history of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) how, during the Uruguay round of global trade talks, a small group of transnational corporations successfully got IP protection on the agenda and subsequently managed to codify their vision of a strong IP protection regime, in the form of the TRIPS agreement, with relatively...
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