The Role of Intellectual Property Rights in Global Economic Governance

Correa, Carlos M.

Intellectual property rights (IPRs) have become a key element in national strategies of technologically advanced countries, as they perceive that their economic performance growingly depends on their capacity to exploit the outputs of their creative and innovative activities. In an increasingly globalized market, a key element in those countries’ strategies is to ensure the international protection of IPRs. Less technologically advanced countries approach IPRs from a different perspective. They fear that IPRs will perpetuate the current technological superiority of developed countries and retard their own development. In fact, advanced countries have succeeded in substantially strengthening the international rules on IPRs, especially with the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement as one of the outcomes of the Uruguay Round of GATT. This paper examines, first, the historical evolution and internationalization of intellectual property regimes since the end on the XIXth Century. Second, it addresses the main analytical issues raised by the IPRs regime. It elaborates on the nature of knowledge as a public good and the static and dynamic effects of introducing exclusionary rights, particularly for follow-on innovation and for countries with different levels of social and economic development. Third, the paper discusses the room left to governments in the context of the emerging international IPRs system for the adoption of industrial and technological policies suitable to their own conditions and capacities, particularly for the acquisition and absorption of foreign technologies. The final section considers how different international organizations interact in this field and the ongoing debates on the development dimension of IPRs.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Initiative for Policy Dialogue Working Paper Series
Published Here
October 17, 2012