Paradigm Shift in the Global IP Regime: The Agency of Academics

31 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013

See all articles by Jean-Frederic Morin

Jean-Frederic Morin

Université Laval - Departement de Science Politique

Date Written: 2013


The global intellectual property (IP) regime is in the midst of a paradigm shift in favor of greater access to protected work. Current explanations of this paradigm shift emphasize the agency of transnational advocacy networks, but ignore the role of academics. Scholars interested by global IP politics have failed to engage in reflexive thinking. Building on the results from a survey of 1,679 IP experts, this article argues that a community of academics successfully broke the policy monopoly of practitioners over IP expertise. They instilled some skepticism concerning the social and economic impacts of IP among their students, as well as in the broader community of IP experts. They also provided expert knowledge that was widely amplified by NGOs and some intergovernmental organizations, acting as echo chambers to reach national decision makers. By making these claims, this article illustrates how epistemic communities actively collaborate with other transnational networks, rather than competing with them, and how they can promote a paradigm change by generating rather than reducing uncertainty.

Keywords: intellectual property, epistemic community, paradigm shift, WIPO

Suggested Citation

Morin, Jean-Frederic, Paradigm Shift in the Global IP Regime: The Agency of Academics (2013). Available at SSRN: or

Jean-Frederic Morin (Contact Author)

Université Laval - Departement de Science Politique ( email )

Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4

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