Chapter 1: Introduction
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Protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) serves a dual role in economic development. While it promotes innovation by providing legal protection of inventions, it may retard catch-up and learning by restricting the diffusion of innovations. Does stronger IPR protection in a developing country encourage technology development in or technology transfer to that country? This book aims to address the issue, covering diverse forms of IPRs, diverse actors in innovation, and diverse cases from Asia and Latin America. Limited term patent rights are a simple and practical compromise between these two conflicting implications of IPR protection. History has also witnessed a pendulum between more or less strong protection of IPRs, seeking a balance between incentive provision for knowledge production and providing access to knowledge (Reichman 2009). Since the 1980s, a pro-protection bias has driven the agenda of the WTO and global harmonization of IP regime via TRIPs (Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights). Recent decades, however, have seen a revived concern for the possible anti-competitive and anti-development effects of IP protection (Lee et al. 2013). Recent research, such as Odagiri et al. (2010), now tends to acknowledge the possibility that there is variation in the impact of IPRs across countries that are at different stages of economic development, and that different types of IPR may be appropriate at different times.

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