Intellectual Property, International Protection Entry in Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law
Intellectual property, International Protection
VII MAX PLANCK ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW 776 (Rüdiger Wolfrum ed.) (Oxford 2012)
This paper was prepared by the author for the Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law. It was initially published in the online edition in 2009, and in 2012 appeared in the hard copy bound volumes. The paper describes the various forms of intellectual property, the international agreements and rules which regulate the field, the role of the various multilateral organizations and trends in development of the law.
Intellectual property rights perform a variety of functions. They promote innovation and creative expression, and they protect investment. The promotion of innovation and protection of investment are important objectives for the global economy. New products and methods for producing them improve the quality of life and enhance productivity. It is important, however, to bear in mind that IPRs protection also imposes social and economic costs. It restricts the use of knowledge, even if for a limited time. The benefits of IPRs protection are not equitably shared among the richer and poorer nations. Just as national legislators must seek to strike a balance between the interests of various domestic stakeholders in IPRs protection, so must those responsible for negotiations at the multilateral level seek to strike an appropriate balance among industry and consumers, and among the wealthy and the poor. The people of the world are closely linked by new technologies and we share an interest in a stable and prosperous international environment.