Corporate 'Human Rights' to Intellectual Property Protection

45 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2014 Last revised: 2 Aug 2016

See all articles by J. Janewa OseiTutu

J. Janewa OseiTutu

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law

Date Written: August 1, 2016


The global intellectual property system protects the interests of intellectual property owners, sometimes to the detriment of competing interests like public health or access to knowledge. Some scholars have proposed a human rights framework for intellectual property as a way to inject balance into the current system. However, the assertion that human rights will bring balance is often coupled with the assumption that corporations are, by definition, excluded from human rights-based intellectual property claims. Yet, corporations have used, and are likely to continue to use, human rights law to ground their intellectual property claims. Since multinational corporations were a major driving force behind increased global intellectual property standards, a human rights framework for intellectual property must contemplate the likelihood that corporations will attempt to co-opt a human rights model in order to bolster their intellectual property claims. Moreover, framing intellectual property interests from a human rights perspective can affect our conceptions of intellectual property and our analysis of the relationship between intellectual property rights and other interests. This Article contends that there is value in using human rights law to limit excessive intellectual property protection. However, promoting a human right to intellectual property protection could have the unfortunate effect of further entrenching rights that have already increased significantly in recent years.

Keywords: intellectual property, copyright, patent, human rights, international law, corporations

Suggested Citation

OseiTutu, Julia Janewa, Corporate 'Human Rights' to Intellectual Property Protection (August 1, 2016). 55 Santa Clara L. Rev. 1 (2015), Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper 15-36, Available at SSRN: or

Julia Janewa OseiTutu (Contact Author)

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law ( email )

11200 SW 8th St.
RDB Hall
Miami, FL 33199
United States

Do you want regular updates from SSRN on Twitter?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics