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Trademark protection or protectionism?

  • Baroncelli, Eugenia
  • Krivonos, Ekaterina
  • Olarreaga, Marcelo

This paper explores the extent to which discrimination against foreign applicants in the trademark registration process can be used as a"behind-the-border"barrier to imports. Prima-facie evidence shows that in some developing countries the ratio of trademark registration to applications is much higher for national than for foreign applicants, which is consistent with the notion of discrimination against foreign firms. The authors develop a simple model that suggests that incentives to discriminate are stronger when foreign firms produce products that are close in quality to the product produced by domestic firms. This hypothesis is then tested and empirically confirmed in three of the four countries in their sample, suggesting that discretion and discrimination in the trademark registration process can sometimes be used as a protectionist tool.

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File URL: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2004/06/02/000009486_20040602105200/Rendered/PDF/wps3214TRADEMARK.pdf
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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3214.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3214
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  1. Eugenia Baroncelli & Carsten Fink & Beata Smarzynska Javorcik, 2005. "The Global Distribution of Trademarks: Some Stylised Facts," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(6), pages 765-782, 06.
  2. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
  3. Juan Carlos Hallak, 2003. "The Effect of Cross-Country Differences in Product Quality on the Direction of International Trade 2002," Working Papers 493, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  4. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1987. "Trademark Law: An Economic Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 265-309, October.
  5. Carsten Fink & Javorcik,Beata & Mariana Spatareanu, 2003. "Income-related biases in international trade : what do trademark registration data tell us?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3150, The World Bank.
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