Intellectual Property, Trade & Development: The State of Play

31 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2005

See all articles by Daniel J. Gervais

Daniel J. Gervais

Vanderbilt University - Law School


This Article considers, first, available economic, social, and cultural analyses of the impact of intellectual property protection in developing countries. Economics provides a useful set of analytical tools and are directly relevant, in particular since the successfully arranged marriage of IP and trade rules after which it became inevitable that IP rules would be measured using an economic yardstick. The Paper also considers the claim that making proper intellectual property policy is impossible or inherently unreliable because theoretical models are inadequate or valid empirical data unavailable. Against this backdrop, the Article then examines the emergence of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). TRIPS added a significant level of comfort for multinational corporations deciding when and where to export to new markets or expand research and development efforts. The Article also considers the Doha Ministerial Declaration of November 2001 and follow-up work on access to medicines. In the second Part, this Article discusses recent economic analyses of the impact of IP protection on bilateral trade flows and foreign direct investment (FDI). Wherever possible, lessons about the right level of intellectual protection for developing countries are drawn. Recent efforts in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the WTO are also discussed. In a third and final part, the Article looks at the current quest for a balanced approach and suggests ways in which such a balanced IP regime could be constructed, as part of a broad, knowledge-oriented economic development strategy.

Keywords: intellectual property rights, international trade, economic development, TRIPS Agreement

JEL Classification: O34, O38, O39, O14, O19, L52, I29

Suggested Citation

Gervais, Daniel J., Intellectual Property, Trade & Development: The State of Play. Fordham Law Review, Vol. 74, pp. 505-535, 2005, Available at SSRN:

Daniel J. Gervais (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

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615 322 2615 (Phone)

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