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. States have also turned to bilateral and regional treaties and "soft law" instruments to regulate IP.
This seminar will address selected topics concerning IP law in an international context. In addition to addressing how various international regimes operate today, the seminar will discuss the political economy of how those regimes developed -- and how they are likely to continue to evolve in the future. We will consider some specific problems that have animated international debates, including conflict between developed and developing nations over access to medicines; demands for the protection of folklore and traditional knowledge; and the roles of international institutions such as WTO, WIPO, and WHO.
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