The Intellectual Property Treaty Landscape in Africa, 1998 to 2015
Open AIR Working Paper No. 4/17
32 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017 Last revised: 5 Sep 2017
Date Written: May 5, 2017
Intellectual property (IP) policy is an important part of economic growth and human development. International commitments harmonized in intellectual property treaties exist in tension with local needs for flexibility. Using a novel data collection and visualization method, this paper tracks the adoption of IP treaties on the continent of Africa over a 130-year period from 1885-2015. Our analysis highlights empirical data at four distinct points in time coinciding with events in African and international IP law (1935, 1965, 1995, and 2015). We explore relevant historical and legal aspects of each period to assess the evolution of the IP treaty landscape in context. Our findings show that treaties now saturate the IP policy space throughout the continent, limiting the ability to locally tailor approaches to knowledge governance.
Keywords: international law, intellectual property, development, data visualization, WIPO, WTO, trade, harmonization
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