Intellectual Property and Asian Values

Article excerpt

  I. INTRODUCTION                                              330  II. THE ASIAN VALUES DEBATE                                   336      A. Human Rights                                           336      B. Intellectual Property                                  339         1. Cultural Developments                               340         2. Economic Developments                               351         3. Geopolitical Rivalries                              365 III. CHINDIASEAN                                               370  IV. AGENDA                                                    378      A. Traditional Issues                                     379         1. Enforcement                                         379         2. Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions      380         3. Geographical Indications                            382         4. Access to Essential Medicines                       383         5. Internet and Other New Technologies                 385      B. New Issues                                             388         1. Climate Change                                      388         2. Alternative Innovation Models                       389         3. Special and Differential Treatment                  392         4. Uneven Economic and Technological Developments      395         5. Abuse of Rights and Restraint on Trade              396      C. Summary                                                397   V. CONCLUSION                                                398 


In the past few years, many scholars and commentators have explored why the West has been more economically developed and technologically advanced than other parts of the world. In his new book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, renowned historian Niall Ferguson identified six "killer applications" that have helped the West achieve its rise to global dominance. (1) In a cautiously titled book, Why the West Rules--for Now, archaeologist-historian Ian Morris also questioned why the West has dominated the globe for the past two centuries and whether such dominance would continue amid the rise of China, India, and other emerging powers. (2) Using a different entry point, Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria explored the "rise of the rest," discussing how global powers could shape up in what he called the "Post-American World." (3) Although all of these books carry a mostly positive message, they were all written against a background of growing worries that the West will eventually lose its competitive edge.

Indeed, the release of these books has coincided with the growing attention commentators are now paying to the rise of Asia. While some wonder whether the twenty-first century will be the Asia Century, (4) others have examined the growing role of the so-called BRICs countries, (5) which initially included Brazil, China, India, and Russia but have now been generalized to cover other emerging middle-income countries, such as South Africa. (6) A growing number of books have also looked at the role of China and India in Africa and Latin America. (7)

Some even contrast the oft-criticized "Washington Consensus" (8) with the "Beijing Consensus," a term coined by former Time foreign editor Joshua Ramo. (9) In March 2011, the Associated Press launched the global economic tracker, examining developments in emerging developing countries. (10) As the press reasoned, these developments are likely to have important global implications ranging from increased prices for raw materials to an accelerated pace of global economic recovery. (11)

The last time policymakers and commentators paid such an enormous amount of attention to Asia was two decades ago, amid the rise of Japan and other newly industrialized countries. The elevated status of these countries, in turn, led some Asian leaders to declare the need to recognize, promote, and protect the so-called "Asian values," which they claimed had provided a formula for economic success, (12) or the so-called "East Asian miracle. …