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Global Dimensions of Intellectual Property Rights in Science and Technology
those laws could lead to very different effects in different cultures. One discussant argued, for example, that although the Japanese and U.S. patenting institutions are quite similar (see Chapter 6), they have led to quite different effects. In the United States, the IPR system has reinforced the tendency toward the not-invented-here syndrome, whereas in Japan it is said to support a more cooperative approach to technology. Similarly, the same IPR laws may have quite different effects in nations that are at different stages of economic and technological development or productive capability.
The absence of good data and other information on the benefits and costs of strong IPRs to developing countries will likely affect the outcome of the current General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights. Discussants questioned how far the United States can expect to push the developing countries to strengthen their IPR systems when it cannot be shown that the current level of protection is too low or that stronger protection would be in their interest. If the developing countries cannot be convinced of the benefits to them of strong IPRs, it may be necessary for the United States to make concessions in other areas of the talks to achieve the international IPR regime it desires. How willing is the United States to make the necessary trade-offs? Judging from U.S. intransigence on such issues as agriculture in the GATT talks, one discussant surmised that the United States is unlikely to make such a trade-off for stronger IPRs and that a uniform, worldwide system of strong IPRs is therefore unlikely to emerge from the current round of talks.