Human Rights and Intellectual Property: Mapping an Evolving and Contested Relationship
Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Intellectual Property Law (Rochelle C. Dreyfuss & Justine Pila eds, 2018)
27 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2016 Last revised: 31 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 30, 2018
This chapter, a contribution to The Oxford Handbook of Intellectual Property Law, provides an overview of the contested and evolving relationship between the international legal regimes governing human rights and intellectual property (IP). The chapter is organized chronologically, dividing the intersection of the regimes into four periods. Prior to the mid-1990s, human rights and IP existed as separate and distinct legal and policy domains. The second period, between the mid-1990s and 2000, involved a rapid expansion of IP protection rules in numerous treaties and national laws. In the decade from 2000 to 2010, the most salient events were backlashes against the expansion of IP protection, together with efforts to clarify the understanding of how IP could undermine human rights. The most recent period, since 2010, has seen efforts to codify ceilings on IP protection in treaties and, separately, the invocation of human rights arguments in litigation involving IP before national and regional courts and international arbitral tribunals. A brief conclusion identifies three developments concerning the interface of human rights and IP likely to occupy the attention of governments, civil society groups, and scholars in the near future.
Keywords: Intellectual property, IP, human rights, economic and social rights, TRIPS, TRIPS Plus, Marrakesh Treaty, IP ceilings, treaty bodies, WIPO, WTO, international regimes, regime shifting, backlash
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