Cost of Having No Intellectual Property

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Pages: 17

Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 12/13/2013 09:44 AM

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Intellectual property is a form of knowledge which societies have decided can be assigned specific property rights. They have some resemblance to ownership rights over physical property or land. But knowledge is much more than intellectual property. Knowledge is embodied in people, in institutions and in new technologies in ways that have long been seen as a major engine of economic growth. Alfred Marshall, the “father” of modern economics, thought so in the 19th Century. With recent scientific and technical advances, particularly in biotechnology and information and communications technologies (ICTs), knowledge has become to an even greater degree than before the principal source of competitive advantage for both companies and countries. Trade in high technology goods and services which are knowledge-intensive, and where IP protection is most common, tends to be among the fastest-growing in international trade.

In developed countries, there is good evidence that intellectual property is, and has been, important for the promotion of invention in some industrial sectors, although the evidence as to exactly how important it is in different sectors is mixed. For example, evidence from the 1980s indicates that the pharmaceutical, chemical and petroleum industries were predominant in recognizing that the patent system was essential to innovation. Today, one would need to add biotechnology and some components of information technology. Copyright has also proven essential for the music, film and publishing industries.

For developing countries, like the developed countries before them, the development of indigenous technological capacity has proved to be a key determinant of economic growth and poverty reduction. This capacity determines the extent to which these countries can assimilate and apply foreign technology. Many studies have concluded the most distinctive single factor determining the success of technology transfer is the early emergence...