Protection of Intellectual Property

Bernard M. Hoekman and Michel M. Kostecki

in The Political Economy of the World Trading System

Second edition

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780198294313
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596445 | DOI:
 Protection of Intellectual Property

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An overview is provided of the economic rationales for protection of IPRs (intellectual property rights) and the reasons behind moves to adopt multilateral rules in this area. Some of the major conflicts of interest that shaped the TRIPs (Trade‐Related Intellectual Property Rights) agreement on this are summarized, as are the basic elements of the substantive disciplines imposed. The agreement is unique in the WTO (World Trade Organization) context in that it imposes obligations upon governments to adopt a set of substantive rules in an area that traditionally has been regarded as the purview of domestic regulation. It is an example of what Tinbergen (1954) has called ‘positive integration’; this is in contrast with the ‘negative’ integration found in the GATT, which involves agreements not to use certain policies that directly affect (distort) trade flows––such as export subsidies or quotas––or if used, imposes constraints on when and how trade policies may be applied. The chapter ends with a brief discussion of implementation‐related questions, focusing in particular on the options that exist to reduce the potential negative aspects of stronger IPRs on national welfare. The different sections are as follows: Intellectual property and international trade; International conventions and GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) history; The Uruguay Round negotiations; WTO rules on intellectual property rights; Implementation concerns and challenges; and Conclusion.

Keywords: GATT; General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; history; implementation; intellectual property; intellectual property rights; international trade; IPRs; multilateral rules; positive integration; trade flows; trade policy; Trade‐Related Intellectual Property Rights; TRIPs; Uruguay Round; World Trade Organization; WTO

Chapter.  10751 words. 

Subjects: International Economics

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