Private Rights and Public Problems

ebook The Global Economics of Intellectual Property in the 21st Century

By Keith E. Maskus

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Intellectual property rights (IPRs)—patents, copyrights, and trademarks—have moved from an arcane area of legal analysis and a policy backwater to the forefront of global economic policymaking. Apple and Samsung's recent patent battle illustrates the importance of IPRs and how they impact everyone. Private Rights and Public Problems is a completed update of the seminal, oft-cited 2000 study, Intellectual Property Rights in the Global Economy. This new book documents the remarkable global changes in IPRs policies that have taken place since the founding of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and analyzes both the benefits and costs of the global IPRs system. Does stronger IPRs protection increase incentives for innovation and raise returns to international technology transfer or does it raise the cost of acquiring new technology and products? Have the changes benefited technology producers or technology consumers? Do these policies help or hinder the transfer of key technologies used to address critical global public needs, such as essential medicines, green technologies, bio-engineered seed varieties, products made from genetic resources, and scientific and educational materials? The book examines these issues through an analysis of the economic effects of extended international protection and partial harmonization of IPRs. Ultimately, it argues that the global IPRs system stands at a fundamental crossroad, facing more challenges than ever before. It makes several suggestions for improving the efficiency and fairness of the newly globalized system in the near future, if the political will can be found.

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Private Rights and Public Problems