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those balances, will serve both the generation and the diffusion of technology as it has in the past. Nations that take part in this globalization will participate in the resulting wealth.

As Research Grows, Everyone Will Benefit

Throughout the research chain, from basic science to incremental product improvements, the intellectual property system strongly conditions decision making. When those who make research decisions look across the globe, it is important for everyone that they see a landscape in which research is uniformly encouraged. This does not imply that intellectual property systems need to be uniform, only that the encouragement they offer needs to be uniformly adequate.

I firmly believe that given greater uniformity among intellectual property systems around the world, much more will happen at the international level. Large companies like mine operate widely already, but I foresee that smaller companies will link with counterparts in other countries to accelerate the advance of knowledge and technology in a great variety of special fields.

The trends in global science and technology indicate to me that the basic concepts of intellectual property, applied globally and flexibly, will be increasingly called on to serve research and development activity around the world.


I would like to acknowledge discussions with—and the assistance of—D.P. McCurdy, W.T. Ellis, and V. Siber, all of IBM.


Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government. 1991. Technology and Economic Performance: Organizing the Executive Branch for a Stronger National Technology Base. New York.

Chisum, Donald S. 1991. Patents: A Treatise on the Law of Patentability, Validity, and Infringement. Matthew Bender, Chapters 8 and 18.

Sherwood, Robert M. 1989. New theory of conductivity in licensing. les Nouvelles: Journal of the Licensing Executives Society 24(4):186-189.

Sherwood, Robert M. 1990a. Intellectual property and economics. Chapter 4 in Intellectual Property and Economic Development. Boulder, Co: Westview Press.

Sherwood, Robert M. 1990b. The importance of trade secrets. Pp. 57-59 in Intellectual Property and Economic Development. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press.

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