The Global Intellectual Property Order and Its Undetermined Future
WIPO Journal, Vol. 1, pp. 1-15, 2009
15 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2009 Last revised: 8 May 2023
Date Written: October 8, 2009
As an introduction to the inaugural issue of the new WIPO Journal, this essay highlights some of the key recent developments in the intellectual property field. The essay begins by discussing the increasingly complex, and at times incoherent, international legal order governing the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights. It shows how much the system has been transformed since the launch of the Paris and Berne Conventions in the 1880s.
The essay then examines the increasingly polarized debate on intellectual property law and policy. Although the debate’s growing divisiveness is understandable, given the rapid expansion of intellectual property rights and the highly contentious nature of boundary drawing, this essay pleads for a more constructive debate that is based on empirical research, historical and comparative analyses, interdisciplinary insights, and holistic perspectives.
Finally, the essay concludes by pointing out that the international intellectual property system is not facing a crisis, as some commentators have claimed. Rather, it has been presented with a new opportunity. Many high-income developing countries are now approaching a crossover point at which they switch over to the more promising side of the intellectual property divide - the proverbial gap between those who benefit from the existing intellectual property system and those who do not. This crossover process is likely to have significant implications for the future development of the intellectual property system.
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