Globalization of intellectual property rights

NUPI Working Paper
Economic growth  International economics
Written by

Per Botolf Maurseth

Former employee


Recent decades have witnessed a strong globalization process. This has been so for international trade and international capital markets, but also in the field of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). IPRs were formerly in the domains of nation states. International treaties have dictated convergence in IPR institutions across the world. This paper gives a short overview of these developments. Incentives for IPRs are stronger for more innovative countries. Therefore, innovative countries traditionally had stronger IPR than less innovative countries. A negotiated global treatment (like the TRIPS agreement) is likely to be a compromise between the needs in innovative and less innovative countries. Such agreements may therefore be complemented with additional agreements among innovative countries. The European Patent Office (EPO), and the planned European unitary patent are examples. IPRs are also incorporated into new preferential trade agreements. Many believe that this trend will result in convergence of stronger IPRs across countries, to the benefit of innovative countries, but at the cost of less innovative countries.