Is Compliance Enough: Can the Goals of Intellectual Property Rights Be Achieved in South Africa?
38 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2013
Date Written: January 28, 2013
Patent applications by South African residents significantly lag behind non-residents both at home and abroad. South Africa, at least in terms of its legislation, is compliant with the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) – the consequence of which should be, according to its own Preamble, promotion of effective intellectual property rights that do not themselves become barriers to trade. How then to explain the poor record of South African resident patent filing?
One answer may be that this Agreement was based on intellectual property systems designed to function within industrially advanced countries that have a well established legislative, judicial and enforcement infrastructure. Given that many developing countries, South Africa being a good example, lack a similarly situated infrastructure, the authors question whether a country will see the promised benefits of intellectual property rights in terms of domestic innovation and development merely because it is TRIPS-compliant.
In this paper, we attempt to understand this issue by reviewing relevant aspects of the international IPR system and that of South Africa, and by considering the perspective of one of South Africa’s important trading partners in Europe, The Netherlands.
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Patents, TRIPS, development, South Africa, The Netherlands
JEL Classification: K11, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation