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Global Dimensions of Intellectual Property Rights in Science and Technology
Research Issue: The argument that weak forms of IPRs or high levels of piracy have possibly negative effects on innovation and economic growth must be taken very seriously. This line of thought must be contrasted with the view expressed by Paul David in Chapter 2 that, under some conditions, IPRs can have seriously detrimental consequences for the process of innovation. There are currently few data on the effects of IPRs on invention and innovation under different conditions that might help resolve this debate.
Research Issue: The effects of high levels of IPR protection on the economies of developing countries have been little studied because the field of economics has begun to devote serious attention to the IPR problem relatively recently. Development theory previously assumed that the principal route to development was through capital formation.
Research Issue: No clear consensus has been reached in this volume on the superiority of a uniform, high-protection, global IPR system over a differentiated system, which is determined by individual national interests. Here again, adequate data do not exist to substantiate either view. Moreover, analyses of the short- and long-term benefits to developing countries of one approach versus the other are almost entirely lacking.
Research Issue: The lack of good data and 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 TRIPs. How far can the United States expect to push 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?
Research Issue: The United States has been able to make headway with the newly industrialized countries (NICs) on IPR issues through the use of bilateral negotiations and the threat of trade retaliation. It is debatable, however, whether the United States will have much further success with this strategy. Is there evidence that losses due to IPR infringement have declined in those countries? Is there evidence that stronger IPR protection by the NICs has stimulated technology transfer or indigenous innovation?
Research Issue: In Chapter 5, Edwin Mansfield suggests three types of studies that might help to estimate the size of the effect of stronger IPR protection on the promotion of indigenous technological innovation activities in developing countries:
a study to determine the effects of stronger patent protection on the size and composition of the R&D expenditures of firms located or headquartered in selected developing countries and on their rate of commercialization of new products and processes;
a study to explore the costs and benefits to developing countries of modifying their patent systems; and