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Global Dimensions of Intellectual Property Rights in Science and Technology
you people like it or not, the future systems are being designed by the standards committees."
I also want to comment on the software issue and whether the software would be put on the table and would be proprietary. What is put on the table are algorithms, rather than software. I share the feeling of many that the real essence of software is the algorithms, really the unpatentable part of it. That is where the real genius and the real invention are, not clothing the algorithms in the code itself. If the algorithms are put on the table, people think they are mathematics and they are available to the world, but that is what the work and investment went into.
Another participant commented on Robert Lucky's frustration about his company's inability to recapture fully its R&D investment and speculated whether it was representative, in microcosm, of U.S. unwillingness to recognize that it had lost its technological hegemony. He suggested that this raised again the question of whether the United States should support a differentiated or undifferentiated international intellectual property right (IPR) system, and he asserted that a differentiated system runs counter to the U.S. view of the world, circa 1945 or 1950, and that a differentiated system may well make more sense in terms of the realities of the current world.
The speaker suggested looking at the evolution of IPR issues over time in the context of trade negotiations. He used Robert Evenson's country categories and asserted:
Trade preferences have absolutely no value for the Bangladesh's, the type 1 countries of the world. They were important for a short period of time for the newly emerging countries, and they became quite irrelevant very quickly once the Taiwans and Koreas made it in the export world. When they were withdrawn, there was not a whimper. A differentiated IPR system, which might involve letting the developing countries of the world have a different kind of patent protection and possibly longer periods for differential treatment in the length of patents and so on, is now being discussed in Geneva and elsewhere.
But the NICs are now realizing, and not just under pressure from the United States, that it is in their own interest (particularly if they are investing elsewhere) to worry about a homogeneous kind of IPR protection. So, one can have differentiation without great cost to the innovation process in the advanced countries and still provide incentives for investment in the LDCs (less-developed countries). Unlike some of the panelists, I do not believe that there is a necessary conflict here. I think these are global issues that do have positive-sum games, if we are just a little more flexible in our own attitude and realize that the world is changing and we have to march with the times.