Intellectual Property Rights
As everyone is no doubt well aware, over the past decade or so, as intellectual (rather than physical) assets begin to increasingly dominate the world economic scene, intellectual property matters have moved to centre stage in the world of international trade. The rather tangled history of United States - China trade negotiations over intellectual property matters, and the central role that intellectual property played during the negotiations leading to the last round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, are well-known examples of this phenomenon.
As a result, questions about the relationship between intellectual property, intellectual property law, and economic development have taken on a new urgency. What role do intellectual property laws play in economic development? How should nations in different stages of development react to calls for increasing global harmonization and enforcement of intellectual property laws?
Many of these questions simply cannot be given a straight answer, as theories and agreements change and evolve, so do our answers.
However, first we have to know what intellectual property rights are and what the general theories surrounding these rights in the study of GPE are.
The World Trade Organisation has ? as the leading body in the governing of intellectual property ? defined it as: ?The rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time? (The WTO, 2004).
IPRS can be divided into three categories: Copyright and rights related to copyright; and Industrial property, which is divided into two categories. (The WTO, 2004)
Firstly, copyrights protect the rights of authors of literary or artistic works. Their works are protected for a minimum period of 50 years after their death (The WTO, 2004). The main purposes...