Bargaining over intellectual property protection : the technological divide dilemma

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Working paper
Piergiuseppe Fortunato
As part of the trade deal hammered out nine years ago, countries join- ing the WTO also signed on to Trips, an international agreement that sets out minimum standards for the legal protection of intellectual property (IP). However, Trips does not create a single, universal patent system; relative to Developed Countries, the IP protection provided by Less Developed Coun- tries (LDCs) tend to be shorter in duration, less comprehensive and much less vigorously enforced. This paper examines the basis for the asymmetries in intellectual property protection between the two groups of countries and analyze the consequences of an harmonization of patent policies.
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