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The case for non-discrimination in the international protection of intellectual property


  • Difei Geng

    () (Vanderbilt University)

  • Kamal Saggi

    () (Vanderbilt University)


We evaluate the case for non-discrimination in the international protection of intellectual property. If trade is not subject to any frictions then requiring national treatment (NT) in patent protection does not have any consequences for innovation (and welfare) since unfavorable discrimination abroad is fully offset by favorable discrimination at home. In the presence of trade frictions, however, such international offsetting in patent protection is incomplete and innovation incentives are actually lower under NT. The formation of a free trade agreement increases the effective global protection available to members without affecting the protection available to the non-member.

Suggested Citation

  • Difei Geng & Kamal Saggi, 2013. "The case for non-discrimination in the international protection of intellectual property," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00017, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:vuecon-sub-13-00017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kamal Saggi & Nese Sara, 2008. "National Treatment At The Wto: The Roles Of Product And Country Heterogeneity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1365-1394, November.
    2. Lai, Edwin L.-C. & Yan, Isabel K.M., 2013. "Would global patent protection be too weak without international coordination?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 42-54.
    3. Suzanne Scotchmer, 2004. "The Political Economy of Intellectual Property Treaties," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 415-437, October.
    4. Ralph Ossa, 2011. "A "New Trade" Theory of GATT/WTO Negotiations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(1), pages 122-152.
    5. Henrik Horn & Giovanni Maggi & Robert W. Staiger, 2010. "Trade Agreements as Endogenously Incomplete Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 394-419, March.
    6. Henrik Horn, 2006. "National Treatment in the GATT," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 394-404, March.
    7. Luis A. Rivera-Batiz & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Integration and Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 531-555.
    8. Keith E. Maskus, 2000. "Intellectual Property Rights in the Global Economy," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 99.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kyle Bagwell & Chad P. Bown & Robert W. Staiger, 2016. "Is the WTO Passé?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1125-1231, December.
    2. Joseph Mai & Andrey Stoyanov, 2014. "Home Country Bias in the Legal System: Empirical Evidence from the Intellectual Property Rights Protection in Canada," Working Papers 2014_3, York University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Intellectual property rights; patent protection; non-discrimination; national treatment; trade barriers;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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