Intellectual property

China: rule-taker or rule-maker in the international intellectual property system?

Intellectual property has been a crucial issue for China in the past four decades. Internationally, it was central to China’s fifteen-year negotiation on its accession to the World Trade Organisation and has been a priority in China-US bilateral relations. Domestically, intellectual property reflects the rapid economic and social transition in China and reveals its crucial regulatory features.

Big Ideas: books, drugs and seeds: the politics of access

This work in progress looks at the extent to which intellectual property protection affects access to educational materials and digital media, medicines and medical devices, and germplasm and agricultural biotechnology. It compares transnational access campaigns and offers some insights into obstacles and opportunities for these access campaigns.

PhD midterm review: China: rule-maker or rule-taker in the international intellectual property system?

After the TRIPS Agreement, issues such as public health, biodiversity and human rights have become increasingly entangled with intellectual property (IP). Overlaps across these areas has caused the proliferation of international rules within and outside of the international IP system. This proliferation of rules has led to regime complexity in which international IP regimes overlap with each other without any clear hierarchy among them.

A Philosophy of Intellectual Property


Author/s (editor/s):

Drahos, P

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Peter Drahos’ classic work on intellectual property, A Philosophy of Intellectual Property is now available in digital format, free of charge from ANU Epress.

About A Philosophy of Intellectual Property:

Are intellectual property rights like other property rights? More and more of the world’s knowledge and information is under the control of intellectual property owners. What are the justifications for this? What are the implications for power and for justice of allowing this property form to range across social life? Can we look to traditional property theory to supply the answers or do we need a new approach? Intellectual property rights relate to abstract objects – objects like algorithms and DNA sequences. The consequences of creating property rights in such objects are far-reaching. A Philosophy of Intellectual Property argues that lying at the heart of intellectual property are duty-bearing privileges. We should adopt an instrumentalist approach to intellectual property and reject a proprietarian approach – an approach which emphasises the connection between labour and property rights. The analysis draws on the history of intellectual property, legal materials, the work of Grotius, Pufendorf, Locke, Marx and Hegel, as well as economic, sociological and legal theory. The book is designed to be accessible to specialists in a number of fields as well as students. It will interest philosophers, political scientists, economists, and legal scholars, as well as those professionals concerned with policy issues raised by modern technologies and the information society.

Download a free copy of the text from ANU Epress.

Weaving Intellectual Property Policy in Small Island Developing States

Author/s (editor/s):

Forsyth, Miranda
Farran, Sue

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There is considerable pressure on Small Island Developing States globally to introduce or to strengthen intellectual property regimes. This pressure comes in a number of forms, including bilateral and multilateral Free Trade Agreement negotiations and development assistance programmes such as those of the World Intellectual Property Organisation. The aim of this book is to offer a competing model of intellectual property policy using the Pacific Islands as a case study. This competing model is one based on local conceptions of culture and indigenous understandings about use, knowledge and transfer of intangible property. Adopting such a base as a starting point will enable the weaving together of multiple regulatory strategies to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, stimulate and reward innovation and creativity, and protect rights over traditional knowledge in ways that have meaning and resonance for local populations. Elements of western intellectual property frameworks can also form important strands in intellectual property policies. However, these elements should be incorporated, and possibly reinterpreted, within the local framework.

The approach advocated in this book opens up a number of different roads for intellectual property policy. First, it encourages the exploration of non-state regulatory mechanisms, such as customary norms and institutions, community protocols, and also membership of international NGOs, in regulating the use of intellectual property. In most Pacific Island countries there is little state capacity to implement and police intellectual property laws and so creative use should be made of the possibilities offered by non-state structures. Second, it suggests centralising culture and the protection of traditional knowledge at the heart of intellectual property policy, rather than treating it as a secondary issue to be dealt with by sui generis legislation. Here, traditional knowledge forms the basis of culture and development and cannot and should not be separated from modern or ‘scientific’ notions of creativity and innovation. A pragmatic incremental approach to intellectual property policy development is also advocated, requiring countries to thoroughly assess the advantages and disadvantages of any new intellectual property law within their local context, to consider how to adaptively implement this in a way suited to the local context, as well as to realistically assess the state’s capacity for enforcement. Finally, the book challenges a number of claims made about intellectual property law and development, demonstrating that a far more fine-grained analysis of the nexus between the two is required than currently offered by the WIPO Development Agenda.

Cite the publication as

Forsyth, Miranda and Sue Farran, 2015. Weaving Intellectual Property Policy in Small Island Developing States. 1st Ed. Intersentia.


Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet