Intellectual Property, Global Inequality and Subnational Policy Variations

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, INNOVATION AND ECONOMIC INEQUALITY, Daniel Benoliel, Peter K. Yu, Francis Gurry, and Keun Lee, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2024, Forthcoming

Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-04

22 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2021 Last revised: 29 Aug 2023

See all articles by Peter K. Yu

Peter K. Yu

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: January 5, 2021

Abstract

The North-South divide has been frequently invoked in the debate on intellectual property, innovation and global inequality. While the Global North complained about the inadequate protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in developing countries, the Global South lamented the unfair distribution of benefits within the international intellectual property regime. Developing countries were also frustrated that they bore the brunt of globalization and the detrimental effects of strong intellectual property protection and enforcement.

The arrival of middle-income countries, in particular those with considerable and ever-growing strengths in the intellectual property area, has called into question the North-South debate. First, that debate is both dated and oversimplified. It overlooks the many complications raised by Brazil, China, India and other fast-growing emerging countries. With increasing abilities to compete effectively against developed countries, these middle-income countries have now taken policy positions that do not always align with the Global South. Second, by emphasizing global inequality (inequality among countries), the North-South debate steers policy and scholarly attention away from many important policy challenges posed by widening national inequality (inequality within countries). Although these challenges have received some attention from trade and development economists, they have been largely ignored in intellectual property literature.

This chapter begins by revisiting the North-South debate on intellectual property, innovation and global inequality. It explains why the arrival of middle-income countries has called into question this old binary debate. The chapter then moves from the widely studied subject of global inequality to the underexplored topic of national inequality. Focusing on the intellectual property context, the discussion highlights the considerable subnational variations in the economic and technological conditions of middle-income countries. To combat national inequality, this chapter concludes by recommending interventions in three areas: (1) international norm-setting; (2) national policymaking; and (3) academic and policy research.

Suggested Citation

Yu, Peter K., Intellectual Property, Global Inequality and Subnational Policy Variations (January 5, 2021). INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, INNOVATION AND ECONOMIC INEQUALITY, Daniel Benoliel, Peter K. Yu, Francis Gurry, and Keun Lee, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2024, Forthcoming, Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 21-04, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3760413

Peter K. Yu (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.peteryu.com/

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