The Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights: Four Learnt Lessons and Four Theses
Italian National Research Council (CNR); University of London - School of Business, Economics and Informatics
Italian National Research Council (CNR-ISSIRFA); University of London - Birkbeck College
October 9, 2009
Intellectual Property Rights have become ubiquitous in the current debate and have emerged as the key issue of global innovation policy. The ‘Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement’ (TRIPS), signed on 1994 as a founding element of the World Trade Organization, represents the most important attempt to establish a global harmonization of Intellectual Property protection. The aim of this paper is to critically re-examine what has become common wisdom regarding IPRs, TRIPS and their effects. We argue that supporters of IPRs in Western corporations and governments as well as detractors in global movements and developing countries have both over-estimated their importance in the process of the generation and diffusion of knowledge and innovation. On the basis of some key lessons learnt regarding the nature of innovation and technological change, we assess four theses about TRIPS and their impact on the global generation and distribution of knowledge. Lastly, the policy implications concerning international organizations and technological transfer are discussed.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: globalization, intellectual property rights, technology transfer
JEL Classification: O34, O33, O38working papers series
Date posted: October 13, 2009 ; Last revised: August 29, 2012
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