Intellectual Property Rights, Technology and Innovation: Some Economic Considerations

By Bronwyn Coate.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will examine arguments in relation to different levels of intellectual property right protection and what some of the economic implications of these are.

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 3. Article: Print (Spiral Bound), ISSN: ISSN 1447-9524, MC03-0067-2003. Article: Electronic (PDF File; 271.404KB), ISSN: ISSN 1447-9575, MC03-0067-2003.

Bronwyn Coate

Technology has revolutionised the production of goods and services and has had a profound impact on economic growth and the potential for economic growth and development in emerging economies. Further to this technological developments particularly in relation to telecommunications and information technology have been critical in facilitating globalisation. Indeed, the movement towards a stronger more integrated global regime of intellectual property rights is consistent with the processes of globalisation and the rise of multinational corporations as the main locus for technological innovation. Given the intangibility and non-rivalous nature of ideas embodied in technology, technological innovations are different from physical resources such as capital in which property rights are able to be clearly defined. Intellectual property rights in which an inventor is given protection for their idea and invention has had a long and turbulent history that can be traced back to C15th Venice. Since that time the debate concerning intellectual property rights has raged on, and while opinions over the optimal level of intellectual property rights continue to remain strongly divided, the global system of intellectual property rights has been gradually changing towards a stronger position to advocate intellectual property rights. In recent time, many developing countries have undertaken significant moves to strengthen their laws in relation to intellectual property protection. This paper will examine what the prevailing arguments are in relation to high and low levels of intellectual property right protection and what the economic implications of these are, particularly in relation to the incentive to be innovative and produce new technologies. Given the impact of globalisation and initiatives such as the agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Issues (TRIPs) as part of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) in April 1994, intellectual property protection has arguably come under increasing attention in recent times. Under TRIP’s, members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) must adopt and enforce strong and non-discriminatory minimum standards of protection for intellectual property. Many developed countries are also extending strong protection to controversial areas such as biotechnology and electronic databases (Maskus, 2000).

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