Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development: Development Agendas in a Changing World


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Intellectual property (IP) has gained an unprecedented importance in a globalizing world where knowledge and innovation are key drivers of growth and prosperity. At the same time, the role of IP in relation to public policy objectives and development goals has come to the forefront of a vigorous policy debate.

This book considers a number of new and emerging IP issues from a development perspective. Case studies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America examine the impact of IP on the pharmaceutical sector, the protection of life forms and traditional knowledge, geographical indications, access to knowledge and the role of competition policy. The challenges developing countries face in the TRIPS-Plus world are also addressed. The experiences revealed, as well as cyclical attitudes toward IP, show that there is ultimately no universal model of IP protection.

“Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz and Pedro Roffe of the ICTSD have put together an important book for those interested in global intellectual property reforms and the development implications for the existing international intellectual property system. The volume draws on a rich array of experiences and perspectives in countries from across the world. It is insightful, provocative, well-conceived and highly recommended.”

– Peter Yu, Kern Family Chair in Intellectual Property Law, Director, Intellectual Property Law Center, Drake University Law School

The diverse range of contributions to this thought-provoking book offer a wide variety of alternative perspectives on and solutions for the controversial issues surrounding the role of IP within sustainable development. As such, it will prove a stimulating read for government policy-makers, trade negotiators, academics, lawyers and IP practitioners in general, UN and other intergovernmental agencies, development campaigners and aid agencies, environmentalist groups and university students.

‘This detailed book provides a comprehensive overview of the changing face of intellectual property internationally. With chapters from leading experts and scholars from across the globe, there is a thorough analysis of the multiple issues faced by developing countries and regions. This book is a must-have for anyone working in the field of intellectual property and sustainable development in the post-TRIPS world.’

- Daniel Robinson, Institute of Environmental Studies, The University of New South Wales, Sydney

The first part of this book looks at the IP landscape in general and then considers IP reform processes in a number of developing countries. Part II includes several country case studies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on topical issues in the current IP debate, including questions relating to the impact of IP on the pharmaceutical sector, the protection of life forms and traditional knowledge, geographical indications, access to knowledge and public research institutes, and the role of competition policy. Here, the authors offer a wide variety of development perspectives and alternative solutions on the role of IP in these controversial issues. Finally, Part III of this work examines a number of the challenges that developing countries face in the TRIPS-Plus world.

“This valuable book constitutes a significant contribution to new and emerging Intellectual Property issues, coming uniquely from a development perspective. The wide range of authors who have contributed to this work has resulted in a well-balanced and thoughtful reflection on the most controversial IP development issues. For any one working or interested in these issues, this book is a must-read.”

– Maximiliano Santa Cruz, Director of the Chilean National Institute of Industrial Property and Chair of the WIPO Standing Committe on the Law of Patents

The book is the result of the work and initiatives undertaken by ICTSD in recent years. It brings together a selected number of papers produced by recognized experts in the field of IP and development, as well as those written by rising and promising scholars and policy-makers. The authors come from different parts of the globe but are united by their shared concern that more-balanced IP regimes responding to sustainable development imperatives are needed.

“The trajectory of technological innovation can shape the course of development; whether developing countries can catch up with the developed, whether new medicines will solve enduring diseases of poverty, whether poor countries can grow economically sustainably. Much is at stake with the way intellectual property policies are designed and implemented globally and nationally. This volume is a superb collection of cutting edge papers on the economic, political and institutional dimensions of this policy – an essential reading for policy makers grappling with intellectual property policy choices.”

- Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School, New York

To order, visit Edward Elgar online.