Intellectual Property and Development: Lessons from Recent Economic Research

Intellectual Property and Development: Lessons from Recent Economic Research

Intellectual Property and Development: Lessons from Recent Economic Research

Intellectual Property and Development: Lessons from Recent Economic Research

Synopsis

International policies toward protecting intellectual property rights have seen profound changes over the past two decades. Rules on how to protect patents, copyright, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property have become a standard component of international trade agreements. Most significantly, during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations (1986-94), members of what is today the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded the Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which sets out minimum standards of protection that most of the world's economies have to respect.How will developing countries fare in this new international environment? Intellectual Property and Development brings together empirical research that assesses the effects of changing intellectual property regimes on various measures of economic and social performance - ranging from international trade, foreign investment and competition, to innovation and access to new technologies. The studies presented point to an important development dimension to the protection of intellectual property. But a one-size fits all approach to intellectual property is unlikely to work. There is need to adjust intellectual property norms to domestic needs, taking into account developing countries' capacity to innovate, technological needs, and institutional capabilities. In addition, governments need to consider a range of complementary policies to maximize the benefits and reduce the costs of reformed intellectual property regulations.This book will be of interest to students and scholars of international law, particularly in the area of intellectual property rights, international trade, and public policy.

Excerpt

Studying and writing about the economic effects of intellectual property protection has occupied a good part of our professional careers, both in academia and at the World Bank. No doubt about it—this is an exciting field of public policy. Every year, new intellectual property laws are passed, international treaties are signed, technologies move to another level, and fresh disputes arise. Policy changes affect the bottom-line profitability of Fortune 500 companies, but they also have an impact on poor people in remote parts of this world.

As trade economists, we both initially set out to answer a simple question: what are the international economic implications of the intellectual property rules mandated by the WTO’s Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)? Unfortunately (or fortunately), we soon discovered that there is no easy answer to this question, but we did find ourselves left with a large number of new questions that kept us busy for many years. We also quickly realized that the World Bank would be the perfect place to discuss this topic. Not only were Bank staffers interested in our research, but we met other economists working on related questions, further inspiring our own efforts. the studies presented in this volume bring together research that has been conducted both by the editors and by economic researchers at or affiliated with the World Bank. While we still struggle with too many unanswered questions, we believe that considerable progress has been made and we hope this is reflected in this book.

We wish to thank the authors who have contributed to this volume. Special thanks go to Bernard Hoekman, who originally proposed this book project to us. in addition, we are also grateful to a large number of friends and colleagues whose thoughts and advice have been invaluable over the years, including Frederick Abbott, John Barton, Clive Bell, Denise Konan, Manjula Luthria, James Markusen, Michael Nicholson, Jerome Reichman, Pamela Smith, and Jayashree Watal.

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