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In the early 2000s the Holy See submitted papers to the WIPO and the WTO, on the subject of Intellectual Property (IP) rights, genetic resources, traditional knowledge, and access to medicines. This chapter develops some concepts that are mainly implicit in those papers. Catholic Social Teaching does not address directly the subject of IP rights, but contains all the elements for a moral judgment on the present system of IP rights. The chapter develops the discussion in three parts: first, some ideas about private property and the universal destination of goods, and the right to knowledge; second, proposing a vision of IP rights in the light of the aforesaid principles about property in Catholic Social Teaching; third, examining the issue of IP rights in relation to the rights of native peoples. The essay concludes by arguing that, to ensure that patents serve the universal destination of goods and the common good, a new legal theory should be developed in this area. This would reconsider, especially, rules relating to the public availability of the invention, the right price of the licenses, possible exceptions to the patent, means of technological transfer, and the creation of alternative means of industrial knowledge protection.
This chapter sketches future scenarios of TRIPS implementation in developing countries by looking at past experience and current trends, and by comparing historical and cross-country patterns. The chapter focuses on the three largest emerging economies - Brazil, India, and China (BICs) - because they have the highest potential to shape the intellectual property regime. The chapter finally draws some lessons from these previous experiences to suggest what the likely positions of the BICs will be on TRIPS implementation up to 2025.
International migration is a relative newcomer on the “trade and” agenda and has hitherto received relatively little attention in trade and migration studies alike. The inclusion of labour migration as one essential mode of cross-border trade in services, so-called Mode 4 in the GATS, opened the agenda for more far-reaching developments at the level of regional and bilateral free-trade agreements . This chapter shows that this deepening of the trade-migration nexus is intricately linked to power shifts in the global economy and the rise of regionalism. For the international trade regime in 2025, this means that, in combination with the ongoing power transitions, the trade-related mobility agenda is likely to expand beyond what the former sponsors of the GATS agreement, the European Union (EU) and the United States, originally intended.
Many studies agree that a weak intellectual property right (IPR) legal system likely reduces innovation or creation; they also predict that increasing intellectual properties (IPs) in developing countries will automatically lead to local needs for stronger formal protection. However, the situation is found to be more complex in China. With a focus on the use of IPs and relevant protection mechanisms in China, this study points out that many companies acquire IPs for purposes that do not depend on their enforcement; many companies have informal ways of protecting their IPs without resorting to court enforcement. Both the alternative functions and the alternative enforcement mechanisms are shaped by industrial characteristics, especially in four aspects: technological features, administrative regulation, market characteristics, and network structure. Based on studies of different industrial sectors in China, this article develops a general framework for analyzing the role of IPRs in industrial practice.
I introduce a minimum innovation size required for patents into a Schumpeterian growth model. We show that to satisfy the patentability requirement for minimum innovation size, each research and development (R&D) firm targets only industries in which the incumbent's technology is of sufficient obsolescence. This is because the technological gap between innovator and incumbent is greater in industries using older technologies. Although the increase in minimum innovation size reduces the number of industries targeted for R&D, it also increases the amount of R&D investment directed at those targeted industries. Consequently, introducing a minimum innovation size has a nonmonotonic (or negative) effect on the aggregate flow of innovations. Further, by deriving the endogenous long-run distribution of innovation size, we show that an increase in minimum innovation size reduces the mean innovation size. This implies that even if the patent office only grants patents for superior innovations, it causes innovators to produce generally inferior-quality innovations.
We show that, even in a framework in which monopolistic exploitation of patents does not occur, patents still give rise to serious drawbacks. We rely on a recombinant growth framework that provides a stylized but clear description of the formation of knowledge externalities. In our setting a benevolent government buys immediately new patents in a competitive market and releases their contents for free. We show that inefficiencies nevertheless arise and welfare can be improved by correcting the market price through a tax–subsidy scheme. We characterize the (asymptotic) steady-state equilibrium, and some properties of the transitional path. We show that if certain conditions are met, then the economy will converge to its (asymptotic) balanced growth path, and along such a pathgrowth will be independent of the policy parameter; conversely, transition dynamics are affected by the choice of the policy parameter. We then quantitatively analyze the effect of different policy interventions on welfare, and show that stricter tax (weaker appropriability) regimes lead to higher social welfare.
This article reviews the current debate on whether U.S. agricultural productivity growth is slowing. It also assesses recent research on how productivity is related to long-term investment in research and development (R&D). It describes significant changes taking place in the U.S. agricultural research system, including the growing role of private agribusiness as a main developer of new agricultural technologies and what this implies for agricultural science policy. The conclusion has suggestions for future research on these issues.
Food is essential for human survival. When the right quantity and quality is taken, it ensures growth and an adequate supply of nutrition to the body, which results in basic effectiveness in all spheres of life. Genetically modified crops have the potential to alleviate hunger and provide more food, especially in developing countries that have high levels of hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Although the debates on genetically modified crops generally focus on intellectual property, other issues include health and environmental concerns. This article examines these issues with the aim of providing holistic knowledge of the subject matter, which is important for stakeholders, particularly in developing countries, in deciding to protect plant variety rights. The article concludes that it is essential for developing countries to consider food security issues in fulfilling their obligations under the TRIPS Agreement.
Now that most countries have harmonized intellectual property right (IPR) legislation as a consequence of signing the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), the dispute about the optimal level of IPR protection has shifted toward IPR enforcement. This paper develops an endogenous growth framework with two open economies satisfying the classical North–South assumptions to study (a) the regions' incentives to enforce IPRs in a decentralized game, (b) the desired IPR enforcement of the two regions in negotiation rounds on global harmonization, and (c) the constrained efficient enforcement level. We show how the different solutions relate to each other and how the results depend on the research productivity in the North and the regions' relative market sizes. Although growth rates increase substantially when IPR enforcement is harmonized at the North's desired level, our numerical simulation suggests that the South may also benefit in terms of long-run welfare.
This article makes the case for the obligation to conserve plant biodiversity to be classified as a common concern of humankind, to justify and indeed prescribe limitations on private intellectual property rights over plants and related processes. Within the biodiversity regime, the notion of ‘common concern of humankind’ subjects the permanent sovereignty of states over natural resources to the interests of humanity. It shifts the obligations of states from managing their own plant biodiversity towards conserving it on behalf of humankind. In contrast, TRIPS requires states to protect private intellectual property rights with little discretion to adequately balance them with public interests. This creates a dichotomy. This article argues that rather than mobilizing state sovereignty as rhetoric to distract from addressing common concerns of humankind, it should be constructed as a concept capable of facilitating these very concerns.
This paper examines Chinese pesticide firms’ use and perceptions of various means of intellectual property (IP) protection in protecting their innovations, using a unique dataset from 97 pesticide firms surveyed in 2008. These firms rate Chinese patents as quite effective in protecting their IP from infringement, although 70 percent of them state that improved enforcement is needed. Those firms that have been granted patents and those that claim their patents have been infringed upon both give lower ratings to the perceived effectiveness of patents. Trademarks are rated as less effective than patents, but firms that have had experience with patenting and infringement of patents tend to rate trademarks as more effective than those firms that do not have direct experience with the patent system. General government policies to encourage increased privatization, more private R&D, and higher education are associated with more faith in IP, but policies to strengthen IP by promoting mandatory IP training and the development of specialized IP divisions in the firms do not influence perceptions of IP effectiveness. We conclude that if the Chinese government wants to encourage innovation using IP protection, it must focus on improving the enforcement of patents.
Seed researchers, like anybody else working with materials containing genes, have to deal with a variety of rules. Their ‘freedom to operate’ does not only depend on intellectual property rights but also on various rights arising from biodiversity policies and possibly traditional knowledge. The most relevant are, however, patents on both materials and biotechnologies. It is in this field that recent developments indicate that the pendulum of ever-increasing levels of rights has started to swing back a little. This is due to recent court cases both in the USA and Europe, and emerging political debates in various countries. After describing the general policy arena involving national sovereign rights, private rights and ‘group-rights’ we focus on recent trends in the patent system. Seed scientists hardly even had to deal with such rights in the past, but in the 21st century they need to be aware of their implications.
This study develops a Schumpeterian growth model to analyze the effects of different patent instruments on innovation. We first analyze patent breadth, which captures the traditional positive effect of patent rights on innovation. Then, we consider a profit-division rule between entrants and incumbents. Given the division of profit, increasing the share of profit assigned to incumbents reduces entrants' incentives for innovation. This aspect of blocking patents captures the recently proposed negative effect of patent rights on innovation. Finally, blocking patents generate a nonmonotonic effect on innovation when the step size of innovation is endogenous because of a novel escape-infringement effect. Calibrating the model to aggregate data, we find that a marginal increase in the blocking effect of patent protection is likely to enhance economic growth.
In contrast to neoliberal rhetoric, the commercialisation of knowledge has proved to be an intricate endeavour that implies unexpected effects. Taking Monsanto’s transgenic canola and its propertisation regime as an example, we will shed some light on the counterintuitive phenomenon that strong intellectual property rights are in heavy contrast to the liberal utopia of full commodification, i.e. universal competition and ideal type market relationships. We will find that Monsanto, in order to avoid Napsterisation, has established and still maintains a rather repressive commercialisation regime that maximises property control by strongly reducing the exchangeability of seed and crops. It can therefore be interpreted as a new form of landlord dominion which contradicts the modernist idea of concordance between market liberalisation and individual emancipation.
Small research firms developing biotechnology applications often focus on establishing intellectual property rights (IPRs), which can then be sold to more established firms with existing market channels. This paper presents a method for valuing the IPRs for an innovation that lowers product production costs below those associated with the patented process of a monopolist. The application to Glucocerebrosidase enzyme from transgenic tobacco suggests an IPRs value of about $1.75 billion. Despite the innovator's market power, significant surplus gains also accrue to consumers. Further, U.S. antitrust laws that prohibit IPRs acquisition by the current monopolist increase consumer welfare by almost 50%.
The treatment of traditional knowledge (TK) and plant genetic resources is timely international topics for debate with the focus on preventing the misappropriation and misuse of these resources, and on promoting the equitable sharing of benefits that arise from utilization and commercialization. In this paper, the initiatives of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its member countries toward safeguarding TK associated with plant genetic resources are reviewed. While Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines have national frameworks in place for the protection of TK and plant genetic resources, other ASEAN member countries do not. In addition, true regional cooperation among ASEAN countries in the area of TK and plant genetic resources has yet to be realized. After a review of these cases, this paper will argue that a single unique model or solution for all ASEAN member countries cannot meet the wide range of concerns and objectives that exist to protect TK and plant genetic resources. Instead, what is suggested is to create a mix of solutions to better handle TK and plant genetic resources issues.
The judgment of the Court of First Instance in Microsoft represents a major success for the European Commission in its fight against abuses of a dominant position. The Court upholds the Commission's findings that Microsoft abused its dominant position by refusing to supply interoperability information that is indispensable for competitors to be able to viably compete in the work group server operating system market. Moreover, the Court upholds the record fine of approximately EUR 497 million. According to the Court, the judgment does not contain any legal novelty, as it simply applies earlier Magill/IMS Health case law. However, it may be argued that the judgment does contain a legal novelty as to the scope of the so-called new product condition. Specifically, it may be argued that the judgment considerably diminishes the scope for a dominant firm to rely on intellectual property rights as a defence in antitrust proceedings concerning the abuse of a dominant position.
It is a striking feature of current biomedicine that it increasingly relies on access to various types of human biological material. Social scientists often criticize the exchange systems facilitating this access for causing a process of ‘commodification’. Though it is not always clear what commodification is thought to imply, a morally degrading transformation from something intrinsically human to an object of ownership seems to be at stake in most accounts. Enrolment in capitalist exchange is typically portrayed as (actively) changing the status of the (passive) body part from being part of a dignified human whole to be a mere fungible commodity. In this article I argue that the notion of commodification is inadequate for an analysis of the dynamics at play in the establishment of exchange systems for human biological material. In particular I focus on the development of the patent regime. The point is that rather than focusing merely on what capitalist forms of exchange do to biotechnology and the body, we might begin to appreciate what biotechnology and the socio-cultural significance of the body do to capitalism and its property structures—or, more precisely, how people’s engagement with, and concern about, biotechnology contributes to the shaping of multiple capitalisms.