International Economic Law, Globalization and Developing Countries
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International Economic Law, Globalization and Developing Countries

Edited by Julio Faundez and Celine Tan

International Economic Law, Globalization and Developing Countries explores the impact of globalization on the international legal system, with a special focus on the implications for developing countries.
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Chapter 14: Intellectual Property, Development Concerns and Developing Countries

Pedro Roffe


Pedro Roffe* 1. INTRODUCTION Intellectual property (IP) has increasingly become more globalized and economically and politically important, but it remains complex, controversial and divisive. IP emerges often and prominently in discussions on trade, innovation, transfer of technology, public health, food security, education, climate change, biodiversity, the Internet or the entertainment industry. Its role and complexities in the context of less developed economies have not been unambiguous. Some argue that a strong system of protection is a prerequisite for economic and cultural development.1 Others blame the system for all possible sins, including making access to public goods (such as health, education, food) difficult and highly unaffordable for poor countries. Some even contend that the system is an expression of ‘legislative colonisation’ imposed by rich countries on poor ones (Stallman, 2009). Intellectual property laws established primarily in Europe and in the United States spread to almost all developing countries, particularly former colonies and new, independent states. However, not many developing countries have had much direct experience with IP instruments and policy, even in cases where such legal systems have existed for many years. * Senior Fellow, Intellectual Property Programme, ICTSD, Geneva. The chapter draws on recent work and publications by the author, as duly noted. The author is grateful for comments and insights provided by Xavier Seuba, Christoph Spennemann and David Vivas on an earlier version but he is solely responsible for its content. 1 ‘IP is a “power tool” for economic development that is not yet being used to optimal effect in...

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