The Development Dilemma: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights in the International System

The Development Dilemma: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights in the International System

The Development Dilemma: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights in the International System

The Development Dilemma: The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights in the International System

Synopsis

Ostergard argues that developing nations adopt stronger intellectual property rights protection in response to international pressures and not as a basis for economic growth and development. Using a new methodology for the measurement of intellectual property rights protection, Ostergard presents empirical evidence to show that, as developing nations become more integrated into the international economic system, they are faced with greater external pressures to increase intellectual property rights protection. Hence, their decision to adopt stronger intellectual property rights protection is purely political. This runs counter to Western arguments for intellectual property rights based on the assumption that stronger intellectual property rights promote economic growth and development.

Excerpt

In 1994 more than one hundred states signed the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the implementation of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). As a result of a strong lobbying effort by the United States (US) the gatt agreement included a global trade regime for the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). the agreement bound all signatory states to implementing a full Westernstyle intellectual property (IP) regime within sixteen years of ratification. the agreement itself was the final product of a long process that elevated the ipr issue from an obscure, esoteric legal field to a critical political and economic issue that brought states to the brink of trade wars.

Traditionally, ipr have been the concern of lawyers protecting their client’s ideas and discoveries. Economists took notice of the issue following the seminal work of Joseph Schumpeter, who argued that innovation and technology were the driving forces behind industrial growth and development (Schumpeter 1976). Economists focused their attention on the importance of ipr to domestic economic growth . . .

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