Corporate 'Human Rights' to Intellectual Property Protection
45 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2014 Last revised: 2 Aug 2016
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
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