IP Rights in a Fair World Trade System: a Review

Intellectual Property Rights In A Fair World Trade System: Proposals for Reform of TRIPS, edited by Annette Kur, is the book at the top of the IPKat's pile today, so he has been taking a good look at it. Annette, as readers of this blog will know, is to the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law in Munich what Lionel Messi is to Barcelona Football Club: a striking asset who attracts admiration from her supporters and respect from those who would oppose her.  In this book, aided by another formidable intellectual property scholar, Sweden's Marianne Levin, she has put together a collection of critical appraisals of the point of intersection at which IP rights -- which are designed in an ideal world to facilitate trade -- meet trade, which in an ideal world is designed to reward creation and investment in IP. A perfect marriage is one in which the partners must accept the principles of "give and take", but when IP is partnered with trade there is always a risk of "take and take", where one side holds more power and fails to recognise its responsibilities.

So what does the publisher say about this book:
"This important new book constitutes a serious examination of both the positive potential, as well as the deficiencies, of the TRIPS agreement. In the light of their analysis, the editors and their colleagues make a powerful case for wide ranging reforms.

Intellectual Property (IP) law – particularly in relation to international trade regimes – is increasingly finding itself challenged by rapid developments in the technological and global economic landscapes. In its attempt to maintain a responsive legislative system that is interacting successfully with global trade rules, IP is having to respond to an increasing number of actors on an international level. [But that's the strange thing, notes the Kat: we recognise that IP law lags behind event, yet its capacity to deliver new products, services, investment channels and the like seems to carry on quite unabated, regardless whether the law is current or not] This book examines the problems associated with this undertaking as well as suggesting possible revisions to the TRIPS agreement that would make it more relevant to the environment in which today’s IP mechanisms are operating. The overall aim is to find an adequate response to the ‘IP balance dilemma’. The theme is pursued throughout various topics, including a look at what this means in relation to the economy in a country like China, and also considering how IP is increasingly having to reconcile itself with human rights issues.

This book will appeal to academics, policy makers and post-graduate students in IP and international trade law, as well as related fields, such as development and human rights [Merpel says, what a pleasant change to see a book on IP which for once doesn't say that it is required reading for legal practitioners and patent attorneys -- though funnily enough there's plenty of real law in it which they'd probably enjoy] ".
The IPKat enjoyed the book, and particularly liked the chapter by Jens Schovsbo ("Fire and water make steam -- redefining the role of competition law in TRIPS"), not just because of its title but because, if TRIPS is to be truly trade-related -- as most of it isn't -- the role played by competition rules in channeling investment as well as in preventing market abuses is one which is played more effectively within the context of TRIPS than outside it. The author recognises the difficulties of identifying the problem areas as well as of dealing with them. Perhaps if TRIPS can make a better job of synthesizing IP and competition rules, the European Commission might one day do the same [this, says Merpel, sounds like the subject of another book ...].

Bibliographical data: xiii + 614 pages, hardback. ISBN 978 1 84980 009 9. Price £95 (but from the publisher's website £85.50). Also available as an e-book (ISBN 978 1 84980 958 0). Book's web page here. Rupture factor: moderate.
IP Rights in a Fair World Trade System: a Review IP Rights in a Fair World Trade System: a Review Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, July 18, 2011 Rating: 5

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