R&D Productivity and Intellectual Property Rights Protection Regimes
We study firms' preferences towards intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes in a North-South context, using a simple duopoly model where a 'North' and a 'South' firm compete in a third market. Unlike other contributions in this field, we explicitly introduce the South's capability to undertake cost-reducing R&D, but maintain the South's inferiority in utilizing and managing its R&D. In contrast to traditional results, we show that the North may encourage lax IPR protection provided that its South rival's R&D productivity is sufficiently high, while the South may find it in its best interest to strictly enforce IPR protection if its R&D productivity is low. In this sense, our results do not support the idea of universal or uniform IPR protection regime. In addition, we find that if firms are allowed to agree on any level of information exchange when IPR protection is strictly enforced, such an exchange can always be established as long as each firm is ensured that what it gets to utilize in return is sufficiently more than what it gives to its rival.
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