International Intellectual Property
IP law is generally territorial, based on rights granted by national law. Yet political and economic interactions are increasingly global. The growth of a global digital networked environment has had a profound effect on markets, while conflict between developed and developing countries on social and economic fronts has expanded the role of intellectual property in cross-border litigation, licensing, and diplomatic initiatives.
While these trends have accelerated in recent years, IP law has been a subject of global governance for more than a century. Two 19th century treaties, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, continue to play a foundational role today. Since then, more than twenty additional multilateral treaties addressing various aspects of IP law have been adopted. States have created international institutions to oversee the implementation of existing treaties and to facilitate the negotiation of new ones. Since the 1990s, IP has assumed growing importance in international trade negotiations, and the World Trade Organization has taken on a critical role in enforcing the resulting agreements. States have also turned to bilateral and regional treaties and "soft law" instruments to regulate IP.
This class will address intellectual property law in an international context. In addition to addressing how the relevant international and national law regimes operate today, the class will discuss the political economy of how those regimes developed -- and how they are likely to continue to evolve in the future. Throughout, we will consider specific problems that have animated international debates, such as conflict between developed and developing nations over access to patented medicines.
This course assumes some prior knowledge of the structure of intellectual property regimes. Students who have taken at least one course in copyright, patents, or trademarks are eligible, and students who have acquired knowledge of IP regimes outside of law course work may also be admitted to the course.
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