Review of the Global Governance of Knowledge: Patent Offices and Their Clients, by Peter Drahos
The IP Law Book Review: Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 15-22, September 2011
9 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 1, 2011
THE GLOBAL GOVERNANCE OF KNOWLEDGE: PATENT OFFICES AND THEIR CLIENTS covers the results of an in-depth, interview-based study of 45 patent offices, their operations and policies, and how they fit into the larger global patent network. Drahos includes a diverse cross section of large, small, emerging economy and other kinds of offices, tying them together in a novel and eye-opening construct that sheds important new light on a system which may, by Drahos’s account, be anything but benign. Drahos provides a timely account of the origins of the global patent machine in operation today, tracing the history and development of individual patent offices with the enduring remnants of colonization providing a constant echo. He intertwines these strands in a narrative that describes a system divorced, in some cases, from the public and societal interest that justifies it. What emerges is a troubling picture of a global regime that exists to facilitate MNC collection of private taxes in the form of patent rents, populated by patent office employees who in many cases lack a clear concept of the larger societal ramifications of their actions. Drahos provocative enquiry is an intriguing and enlightening explanation of “why our [patent] world is the way it is” and what we might do to change it. The book is thought-provoking, well-researched, engaging, and highly recommended.
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