This book analyzes the interface of human rights and intellectual property from multiple perspectives. Chapter 1 introduces the major legal, institutional, and political aspects of each regime, explains how they came into increasing contact over the past decade, and explores alternative frameworks for conceptualizing their relationship. Each of the remaining chapters adopts a predominantly substantive orientation that examines in depth specific intersections between certain human rights and intellectual property protection rules. In this concluding chapter, we shift focus to elaborate the major transsubstantive themes that are interwoven through the preceding materials. Our aim is twofold. First, and more modestly, we seek to illuminate connections that transcend specific “hot button” controversies and to offer deeper insights about the interconnections between the two legal regimes. Second, and more ambitiously, we offer our own analytical framework to assist scholars, policymakers, civil society groups, and students in conceptualizing the relationship between human rights and intellectual property.
We begin in Section 8.1 by reiterating the inevitability of the human rights–intellectual property interface and by rejecting – both as a matter of principle and as a matter of practical politics – arguments for maintaining a firewall between the two regimes and avoiding the difficult work of normative engagement. Section 8.2 evaluates three proposals to demarcate the boundary lines between human rights and intellectual property, proposals whose particularities we describe in greater detail in previous chapters.