Neo-Colonial Aspects of Global Intellectual Property Protection
The Journal of World Intellectual Property, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 40-74, 2010
41 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 23, 2010
An essential instrument in the process of neo-colonialism by economic means is the establishment of a legal framework of international trade which confers legally enforceable rights that support and safeguard economic penetration and control. This includes, in a similar way as in colonial times, the guarantee of protection of foreign property rights in dependent regions. Today, intellectual property rights fulfil this colonising role to a large extent. It will be shown that the implementation of TRIPs is one major device which drives such an economic neo-colonialism forward. This is reflected in the history of the making of this treaty, as well as in the methods of enforcement of intellectual property rights, which will be demonstrated on the example of China. Besides this international expansion of Western-style intellectual property rights, there is another, seemingly contrasting and alternative non-proprietarian, legislative project, which nevertheless has neo-colonial effects: the protection of traditional cultural expressions in the context of “traditional” arts. The article discusses that, despite presumably good intentions, this measure reflects colonial features, such as the concept of indirect rule, and invites segregationist legislation.
Keywords: Post-Colonialism, TRIPS, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Intellectual Property, Property Theory
JEL Classification: K11, K20, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation