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Of war and peace: analyzing the policy discourse on intellectual property


  • Ghafele, Roya


This study analyzes underlying themes of the international policy discourse on Intellectual Property (IP) and in this sense raises awareness on common pitfalls currently associated with international policy making in the area of innovation. Methodologically it is situated within the domain of discourse analysis, which considers policy making as strongly embedded by a specific representative order that paves the way for framing policies in one specific way, while systematically silencing alternative positions. The baseline of the analysis forms a literature review of approximately five hundred texts that were identified through random key word search, including academic journal articles, newspaper articles, statements from international organizations and national administrations as well as statements on ‘you tube’. We found that the current policy discourse on IP is driven by two different camps. On one side are those who associate IP with the negative side effects of Globalization and see in IP a mechanism to erode important social and cultural values. On the other side, those wanting to advance the IP agenda hardly address how IP may promote equitable innovation, but instead repeatedly refer to counterfeiting and piracy as a major threat to industry. Overall the discourse derives much vocabulary from the domain of war, fights and battlefields. We did not find any solution driven approaches seeking to explore how IP may be used as a means to advance the knowledge economy worldwide or bridge current divides prevailing in international systems of innovation.

Suggested Citation

  • Ghafele, Roya, 2010. "Of war and peace: analyzing the policy discourse on intellectual property," MPRA Paper 38091, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:38091

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Smarzynska Javorcik, Beata, 2004. "The composition of foreign direct investment and protection of intellectual property rights: Evidence from transition economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 39-62, February.
    2. Maskus, Keith E. & Penubarti, Mohan, 1995. "How trade-related are intellectual property rights?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 227-248, November.
    3. Lee, Jeong-Yeon & Mansfield, Edwin, 1996. "Intellectual Property Protection and U.S. Foreign Direct Investment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(2), pages 181-186, May.
    4. Ghafele, Roya, 2009. "Creating the missing link: applying collective marks to create clusters," MPRA Paper 37039, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    More about this item


    Globalization; intellectual property; discourse analysis; TRIPS Agreement; developing countries;

    JEL classification:

    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other


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