Cover Image

HARDBACK
$54.95



View/Hide Left Panel

concern to national governments, many of which have moved to better integrate this policy area into broader economic and trade policies.

A related reason for the greater visibility of IPR issues is the increased losses suffered by businesses in industrialized countries as a result of weak IPR systems, especially in developing countries. As long as the developing countries had little technological capability, firms in industrialized countries tolerated weak IPR regimes in those nations because losses due to unauthorized use of intellectual property were low. As the technological capability of developing countries grew to the point that some could quickly copy advanced technology and manufacture high-technology products efficiently, the losses to firms in industrialized countries began to grow and the governments of those countries began to pressure the developing countries to enact and enforce stronger IPR systems.

Led by the United States, the industrialized countries are now pressing for a uniform, worldwide system of IPRs. They have argued that strong intellectual property rights protection in all countries is necessary for firms to reap the economic returns from their investments in innovation, and thereby continue to invest in R&D and innovation, which will lead to future economic growth.

A move toward stronger, possibly uniform, IPR systems, however, is being resisted by many countries, particularly developing countries and newly industrialized countries, for a variety of reasons. The governments of those countries have argued, among other things, that strong IPRs would deter progress toward their national economic development objectives by increasing the cost of obtaining new foreign technology.

Negotiations on these issues are being conducted as part of the current Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. An effort is being made at those talks to achieve a stronger set of international standards for intellectual property protection. In addition, talks being conducted at the World Intellectual Property Organization are aimed at achieving greater harmonization among national patent laws.

The first two chapters in this section argue, respectively, for and against a uniform, worldwide intellectual property system. In Chapter 3, Robert Sherwood addresses the question of whether, on balance, strong intellectual property protection can be expected to benefit or harm developing countries. The international IPR system he posits and analyzes would have similar practical effects in different countries, although national laws would not necessarily be standardized or even harmonized. Sherwood concludes that the benefits of such a system to developing countries would outweigh the harm to those countries.

In Chapter 4, Claudio Frischtak makes the counterargument in favor of national IPR regimes that are differentiated according to level of technological and productive competence. He notes that national IPR policies are



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement