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Racionalidade económica dos direitos de propriedade intelectual

  • Adão Carvalho


    (Department of Economics, University of Évora)

Os sistemas de protecção da propriedade intelectual, nomeadamente os sistemas de patentes, têm sofrido alterações substanciais nas últimas duas décadas e posto à prova a argumentação económica tradicional, que sustenta que as restrições concorrenciais e custos sociais das patentes são largamente compensados pelos benefícios obtidos com a inovação que promovem. Contudo, o alargamento das áreas passíveis de protecção intelectual está a tornar imprecisa a linha que separa aquilo que pode ser daquilo que não deve ser patenteável, e a suscitar um debate académico intenso sobre os limites socialmente desejáveis dos sistemas de patentes. Os indícios crescentes da utilização estratégica e táctica das patentes pelas empresas exigem uma reavaliação da fundamentação económica e uma eventual reorientação da política científica e tecnológica. Se a tudo isto juntarmos o paradigma actual de desenvolvimento assente em economias baseadas no conhecimento, onde a capacidade de produção e uso dos conhecimentos científicos e tecnológicos está claramente desequilibrada a favor das economias mais desenvolvidas, temos as condições necessárias para avolumar as vozes dos que consideram que o interesse social está a ser prejudicado em função do interesse privado. Este artigo visa contribuir para este debate através da análise da fundamentação económica da protecção da propriedade intelectual, em particular dos sistemas de patentes. Over the last two decades, the systems of protection of the intellectual property rights, namely patent systems, were subject to important changes. These changes have put to the test the traditional economic rationale for the very existence of patent systems, which sustains that the restrictions on competition and welfare costs are, on balance, compensated by the innovation it promotes. However, new patenting areas such as software, biotechnology and business methods are blurring the dividing line between what can be patented and what is not patentable, and raising the discussion on the socially desirable limits for the patent systems. There is growing evidence of the strategic and tactical use of patents by firms, which requires a reassessment of the economic arguments and perhaps changes in the policy of science and technology. Furthermore, the current knowledge-based economy competition paradigm, where the ability to produce and use new scientific and technological knowledge is clearly unbalanced in favour of the most advanced economies, is rising the number of voices of those who believe that private interests are being excessively protected to the detriment of the social welfare. This paper aims at contributing to this discussion by analysing the economic rationale of the intellectual property rights, especially the patent systems.

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Paper provided by University of Évora, Department of Economics (Portugal) in its series Economics Working Papers with number 10_2004.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:evo:wpecon:10_2004
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