Intellectual Property, Global Inequality and Subnational Policy Variations
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, INNOVATION AND GLOBAL INEQUALITY, Daniel Benoliel, Francis Gurry, Keun Lee and Peter K. Yu, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2021, Forthcoming
19 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2021 Last revised: 9 Jan 2021
Date Written: January 5, 2021
The subject of global inequality is at the center of the North-South debate on intellectual property law and policy. While developed countries in the global North complain about the lack of adequate protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in developing countries, the global South laments the unfair distribution of benefits provided by the current international intellectual property regime. Developing countries are also frustrated that they continue to bear the blunt of globalization and the detrimental effects of high standards of intellectual property protection and enforcement.
The arrival of middle-income countries, in particular those with considerable and ever-growing strengths in the intellectual property area, has shown that the international intellectual property debate has been less simplistic that what a binary North-South debate suggests. Indeed, fast-growing emerging countries such as Brazil, China and India have acquired newfound success in competing with developed countries in the international trade and intellectual property arenas. If this trend continues, the picture about intellectual property and global inequality will only become more complex.
This chapter begins by revisiting the North-South debate on intellectual property, innovation and global inequality. It explores where middle-income countries fit in this debate. The chapter then moves from the frequently documented inequality among countries to the underexplored inequality within countries—a topic that has received growing attention from trade and development economists but insufficient coverage in intellectual property literature. Focusing on middle-income countries, the discussion of national inequality highlights the considerable variations in economic and technological conditions at the subnational level. The chapter concludes by outlining three sets of responses that intellectual property policymakers could put in place to address national inequality: (1) international norm-setting; (2) national policymaking; and (3) academic and policy research.
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