Intellectual Property Rights Series No. 7

Intellectual Property, Competition and Development
by Martin Khor

Publisher: TWN (ISBN: 983-2729-51-3)

Year: 2005   No. of pages:  44



About the Book

A discussion on competition policy and intellectual property rights (IPRs) should take into consideration whether IPRs affect the competitiveness of developing countries and their enterprises, as well as the access of their consumers to essential goods and services and the access of small enterprises to technology and production inputs.

The balance between both IPRs and development and IPR holders' interests and the public interest has significantly shifted against development and the public interest due to inappropriate upward harmonization of IPR standards resulting from the TRIPS Agreement of the World Trade Organization and some recent treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The inappropriate application of IPRs has increased monopolization of industrial structures, increased drug prices, affected farmers' rights and facilitated biopiracy in agriculture and led to wrongful patenting of naturally occurring genes and microorganisms.

To control the anti-competitive effects of IPRs, systems are needed that prevent the wrongful granting of patents. Exceptions, limitations and flexibilities in IPRs should be expanded or strengthened in TRIPS and other global treaties, and technical assistance should stress their significance and use in developing countries.

Also required is a review of existing global IPR treaties in light of development and public interests, and the halting of further harmonization of IPR laws and practices until there is a change in fundamental principles in the IPR framework that makes it balanced.

About the Author

Martin Khor is the Director of the Third World Network. He is an economist trained in Cambridge University and has authored several books and numerous articles on trade, development and environment issues.

  1. Introduction

  2. IPRs, Monopoly and Competition, and the Public Interest

  3. Shifting of the Balance Between IP, Monopoly and Development

  4. The Situation of Developing Countries and the Development Context

  5. Examples of Effects of IPRs on Competition and Welfare

            (a) Effects on competition and market structure

            (b) Effects on competition, prices and access to essential goods

            (c) Patenting of lifeforms

            (d) Agriculture, biological resources and traditional knowledge

            (e) Patents and the transfer and use of technology 

6. Policies and Methods to Prioritize Competition Principles in Relation to IP          

            (a) Limit the granting of IP according to correct criteria

            (b) Providing for and making use of exceptions, exemptions and limitations

            (c) The proper design and implementation of flexibilities

            (d) Competition principles and legal provisions in laws relating to IP and beyond

7. Conclusion       



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