Year : 2009 | Volume
: 1 | Issue : 1 | Page : 1--7
Intellectual property: A strong determinant of economic growth
Munmun Rai1, Love Kumar Singh2, Aarti Sharma3,
1 Crop Improvement Department, Central Soil Salinity Research Institute, Karnal - 132 001, Haryana, India
2 Department of Biotech, Meerut Institute of Engineering and Technology, Meerut, India
3 School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, National University, Jaipur, India
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, National University, Jaipur
The returns from almost all human endeavors can ultimately be translated into monetary gains. The past few years have seen increased attention paid to the strengthening of intellectual property rights due to globalization. The development of Intellectual property rights (IPR) over the years has invariably brought an upsurge in the outlook of nations toward the aspect of societal and cultural growth, this being said with the preliminary assumption that economic growth has been the most affected realm and that it requires a separate spectrum of analysis. The artifacts between the IP regime and the national economy can be easily interpreted by the fact that India«SQ»s independence had itself brought an era where the enactment of the national IP laws were considered to stand on the touchstone of the market economy. The aim of the present article is to investigate the impact of a strong IP regime on the economic development of a nation and also a light is raised into Indian economy, and the creation of an efficient innovative system is discussed. A strong relation of the IPR with the pharma and biotech sectors has been discussed. Undoubtedly, the Intellectual property (IP) systems must be developed so as to bring in socioeconomic well-being. The fact that a strong IPR actually provokes IPR infringements in many developing nations also seems to be an issue that needs to be analyzed while understanding the need of the former. The trade-off between unfair competition laws and IP also assumes importance of high magnitude and hence needs to be particularly emphasized. With the growing recognition of IPR, the importance of worldwide forums on IPR has been realized. Companies, universities, and industries want to protect their IPR internationally. In order to reach this goal, countries have signed numerous agreements and treaties.
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Rai M, Singh LK, Sharma A. Intellectual property: A strong determinant of economic growth.J Pharm Bioall Sci 2009;1:1-7
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Rai M, Singh LK, Sharma A. Intellectual property: A strong determinant of economic growth. J Pharm Bioall Sci [serial online] 2009 [cited 2019 Oct 20 ];1:1-7
Available from: http://www.jpbsonline.org/text.asp?2009/1/1/1/62679
Intellectual property is a 'power tool' for economic development and wealth creation that has not yet being used to optimal effect in all countries, particularly in the developing world. Within every regime, building IPR protection systems through laws, mainly consider two reasons. One is to promote investments in knowledge creation and innovation by establishing exclusive rights to use and sell newly developed technologies, goods, and services; for knowledge is a kind of non-rival merchandise, which is easy to be obtained by the public. Without protection from the laws, the imitators can easily reproduce the advanced technology without paying any cost for the research work. The imitators can easily offer a more competitive price and gain more profit than the innovators, with a lower cost. Hence, they would be less willing to invest on the research and innovation process in the under protection situation. All producers would like to share the free advanced knowledge developed by others rather than investing a lot of money, human capital, and time on high risk and expensive research work. With protection from the IPR system, the innovators and creators could gain additional profit through monopoly protection; they would be more willing to spend physical capital and human resources on innovation activities with the expectation of gaining more monopoly profit.
It is a practical guide to using those intangible assets, such as, knowledge, information, creativity, and inventiveness, which are rapidly replacing traditional and tangible assets, such as, land, labor, and capital, as the driving forces of economic health and social well-being. For many years, economists have tried to provide an explanation as to why some economies grow fast, while others do not; in other words, why some countries are rich and others poor. It is generally agreed that knowledge and inventions have played an important role in recent economic growth. The renowned economist Paul Romer suggests that the accumulation of knowledge is the driving force behind economic growth. For countries to promote growth, his theory states, that their economic policies should encourage investment in new research and development (R and D) and subsidize programs that develop human capital. 
In the 1990s, an increasing number of policy-makers in the emerging economic powers recognized the important role played by the IP system in the institutional infrastructure for encouraging private investment in R and D, especially in the industrial and scientific fields. Many studies suggest a healthy IP system as a key element in encouraging foreign direct investment (FDI). An increased and steady level of FDI in India, for example, has been evident ever since the patent and trademark reform was introduced in the early 1990s (Reserve Bank of India data). An even more dramatic development has taken place in Brazil with spectacular growth in FDI, following the introduction of a new industrial property law in 1996 ($4.4 billion in 1995 to $32.8 billion in 2000) (Banco Central do Brasil data). Foreign direct investment occurs when a Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) has a sufficient cost or technological advantage over firms in the host country to offset the higher costs of operating internationally. 
The tendency of firms to patent their inventions has similarly increased worldwide and is particularly noticeable in Japan, the United States, and Europe. In Japan, it took 95 years to grant the first million patents, whereas, it took only 15 years to grant the next million. Applications for patents are also increasing in developing countries. It is generally agreed that technology and knowledge have played an important role in economic growth, however, when it comes to exploring these issues in a multi-jurisdiction context, the most relevant analyses are those that examine a world composed of two types of countries: a developed, innovating 'North' and the developing countries. The main concerns have been whether increased IPR protection in the Developing countries would increase (a) the rate of (global) growth, (b) the rate of technology transfer from the North to the Developing countries, and, (c) welfare levels in both locations. A straightforward partial equilibrium analysis reveals that while the North always benefits from stronger IPR protection in the Developing countries, the Developing countries themselves are found to benefit only when the R and D is highly productive, such that, the R and D induced by stronger IPR protection in the Developing countries results in significant cost reductions when the Developing countries comprise of a large share of the overall market for the goods (Chin and Grossman, 1990). Intellectual property could be called the 'Cinderella' of the new economy. A drab, but useful servant, consigned to the dusty and uneventful offices of corporate legal departments until the princes of globalization and technological innovation - revealing her true value - have swept her to prominence and given her an enticing new allure. Not so long ago, protecting and managing intellectual property was a fairly quiet field of endeavor, not given to making headlines or causing ripples in the stock market. However, in the space of a few years, IP issues have come to feature regularly as major news items and have taken their place as a key element in corporate strategy, affecting company ratings. 
The IPR regime is likely to affect growth indirectly by encouraging the innovative activity, which in turn is the source of total factor productivity improvements. The IPR regime could also affect the inflows of FDI, technology transfers, and trade that might impinge on growth. The relationship between IPR and development could be subject to the causality problem, as developed countries are likely to have stronger IPR regimes than the poorer ones. Studies have found the relationship between IPR protection and the level of development to be nonlinear, suggesting that patent protection tends to decline in strength as economies move beyond the poorest stage into a middle-income stage, wherein they have a greater ability to imitate new technologies. Quantitative studies have also shown that universally imposed minimum standards for patent protection are not likely to contribute to increased growth in countries below a certain threshold, in terms of the level of development. 
The international environment with respect to intellectual property has changed considerably with the conclusion of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. The TRIPS Agreement accommodates the demands of the industrialized countries for higher international standards of protection, by mandating the extension of patentability to virtually all fields of technology recognized in the developed country patent systems, by prolonging the patent protection for a uniform term of 20 years, and by providing legal recognition of the patentee's exclusive rights to import the patented products. The patent rights are enjoyable without discrimination as to the place of invention, the field of technology, and whether the products are imported or locally produced. All the signatories to the trade negotiations are, therefore, obliged to harmonize their IPR regime and to provide product patents for pharmaceuticals and chemicals. The coverage of the patent protection has also been expanded to the provision of patents on microorganisms and protection of plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof. 
The full implementation of the TRIPS Agreement will probably have an important bearing on the patterns of development in the developing countries. A brief review of some of the important dimensions of these effects is:
Local Technological Capability Building
The strengthening and harmonization of IPR regimes worldwide have considerable implications on the process of acquisition of local technological capability by developing countries. The provision of product patents on chemical and pharmaceutical products, for instance, would adversely affect the process of innovative activity of the developing country enterprises in the manufacture of chemicals covered by patents. The development of new chemical compounds is generally beyond the capability of most developing country enterprises in view of the huge resources involved. Therefore, they focus their attention on process innovations for known chemicals and bulk drugs. This imitative duplication or reverse engineering activity is an important source of learning in developing countries. Indeed, most industrialized countries of today as also newly industrialized countries encourage local learning through soft patent laws in the absence of product patents in chemicals, in the early stages of their development, as highlighted earlier. It means that the poorer countries of today will not be able to benefit from an important source of total factor productivity growth (viz. absorption of spillovers of foreign inventions), which was available to countries that have developed already. In that respect the TRIPS Agreement is highly inequitable. 
The probability of a stronger IPR regime encouraging innovative activity in developing countries is very small. In fact, in poorer countries, the adoption of utility models or petty patents and design patents has a greater potential in encouraging local technological activity rather than implementation of the provisions of TRIPS. 
Industrialization, Technology Transfers, and Trade
Recent trends suggest a reversal of trend in the growing importance of arm's length licensing as a mode of technology transfer, as multinational enterprises (MNEs) prefer to internalize technology transactions (see Kumar 1998). The strengthening of IPR's regime may further limit the access of technology by developing country enterprises. Kim (1997) provides a number of examples of Korean corporations being denied technology licenses by patent holders in the Western world forcing them to reverse engineer the products. A number of local enterprises in developing countries will come under pressure to close down or form alliances with larger firms, resulting in a concentration of the industry [World Bank 2002:137]. The dependence on imports may go up. Mascus and Penubarti (1997) for instance, find that TRIPS could affect import volumes significantly; for example, in Mexico, the anticipated rise in manufactured imports could be of the magnitude of $6.3 billion, amounting to 9.4% of its real manufactured imports in 1995 (as cited in World Bank 2002:132). 
Prices of Medicines and Loss of Consumer Welfare
A number of studies have examined the effect on the prices of medicines after the introduction of product patents and have simulated welfare losses for consumers in developing countries. It is widely believed that drug prices will go up upon introduction of product patents, as happened in China, which introduced them in 1993 [May 2000:99; also see Lanjouw 1998, Scherer and Watal 2001, and Panagariya 1999]. Nogues (1993), finds welfare losses to six developing countries (Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico, Korea, and Taiwan), from the introduction of product patents, to be between US$3.5 billion to $10.8 billion, depending upon the assumptions. The gains to the patent owners from such an introduction would range between $2.9 billion and $14.4 billion. The welfare loss to India could be between $1.4 billion to $4.2 billion in a year. Watal (2000) simulates the likely increase in pharmaceutical prices and decrease in welfare in India with the introduction of product patents in 22 existing pharmaceutical products, and finds that the weighted mean drug price in India could increase from 26% (for a linear demand function) to 242% (with a constant elasticity-type demand function). An earlier study by Subramanian (1994), had found the maximum price increase of 67% for India following the introduction of product patents. Fink (2000) finds the range of price increase to be between 182 to 225%. This suggests that the introduction of product patents would affect prices of medicines significantly, and unless new drugs are more efficient, there will be a decline in the health levels of the population (May 2000). The recent case of huge differences between prices of HIV Aids drugs sold by patent holders in South Africa and their generic substitutes just provides further evidence to the potential of price increases following the introduction of product patents. It may be argued that the vast majority of drugs are out of patent protection, and hence will not be affected. Yet the AIDS drugs controversy shows that effective treatment for many of the scourges of the day, such as, cancer, cardiac failures, and renal problems, among others, may be affected. 
Income Transfers from Developing Countries
Given the near complete domination of developed countries on technology generation as evident from the 95% ownership of US patents [Table 1], the strengthening and harmonization of IPR's regime will lead to a substantial increase in the flow of royalties and license fees from developing countries to developed countries. McCalman (1999) quantifies the impact of patent harmonization and finds that it has the capacity to generate large transfers of income between countries, with US being the major beneficiary. The World Bank (2002: Table 5.1) updates the computations of McCalman and suggests that the net patent rents derived by the US (in 2000 US$) could add up to over $19 billion, Germany $6.7 billion, and Japan $5.7 billion. Among the developing countries, China could see an outflow of patent rents to the order of $5.1 billion, India $903 million, Israel $3.8 billion. 
Furthermore, the extension of IPRs to plant varieties could further increase the outflow of royalties for the breeder lines of the seed companies even though the basic raw material for the development of these varieties, namely, genetic diversity, which is largely found in developing countries and is supposedly the work of generations of farmers in these countries, is generally available to them free. ,
IP and Investment
Economists have not adequately dealt with issues directly related to economics and intellectual property. Among the few who have addressed this subject, there are differing opinions. Some are supportive of the positive relationship between intellectual property and innovations and inventions and others have different views. Many researchers have suggested a direct link between enhanced IP protection and an increase in inward FDI in certain countries. A steady and steeply rising increase in FDI, in India, has been evident (except for a dip in 1999, due to the adverse impact of the east Asian crisis) ever since patent and trademark reform was introduced in the early 1990s. The equivalent increase in Brazil is more dramatic, with a spectacular growth in FDI following the introduction of a new industrial property law in 1996, which provided patent protection for 20 years, as well as pipeline protection for drugs not yet in the market. 
It is common knowledge that investment in R and D is quite an expensive undertaking. Investors will under-invest in such an activity if they are not assured of reaping the lion's share of the resulting benefits. It can be convincingly argued that IP protection plays a catalytic role in stimulating R and D. Furthermore, protection of intellectual property has the potential to contribute positively to a country's efforts to attract FDI, increase foreign trade, and provide the necessary conditions for transfer of technology. The combination of all these factors contributes to a greater potential for increased growth. In the case of Japan, for example, the rate of technological development since 1945 can significantly, though not entirely, be associated with intellectual property and, in particular, the patent system, which was widely used in the 'catching-up' process. The relationship between international economic activity and IP for developing countries in the post-TRIPS era was recently examined by W. Lesser, of the Cornell University, in an article commissioned by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). He examined in particular the link between stronger IP protection and two international factors: FDI and imports. Lesser reports his findings in the following manner, "the relationship between the IP score and both FDI and imports is both positive and significant" and concludes by saying that "…taken in the context of previous studies, (the result) is compelling evidence that stronger intellectual property rights (IPR) do indeed provide some domestic benefits for developing nations." There are many other positive aspects to the question of intellectual property and its benefits in the economic equation, especially if one looks at intellectual property other than the patents. Take the case of trademarks, for example. Trademarks are important components of the IP system and have a strong influence on private investment and marketing decisions. They have been in use for many years, in many countries, both developed and developing. IP executives consider the market value of their trademarks as part of their intellectual and intangible capital. 'The World's Most Valuable Brands'. ,,
The value added from the cultural industries (literature, music, art, etc.) should similarly be considered. In developing countries, this economic sector has grown considerably as suggested in Table - 2.9, concerning the book publishing sector. Copyright and related rights of the authors, performing artists, producers of sound recordings, broadcasters, and other creators have been in the limelight for some time, because of the economic losses attributed to the piracy of works protected by copyright, particularly, software, music, and film. Based on the data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the proportion of counterfeit goods in total sector sales has reached 33% for the music sector, 50% for the video sector, and 43% for the software sector. 
Economic Development and Patents
Patents can be used to stimulate economic development in four main methods; patent information facilitates technology transfer and investment; patents encourage Rand D at universities and research centers; patents are catalysts of new technologies and businesses; and businesses accumulate and use patents in licensing, joint ventures, and other revenue-generating transactions. By offering exclusive rights for a limited period, an inventor may recover the R and D costs and investments. It also promotes investment to commercialize and market new inventions so that the general public can enjoy the fruit of the innovation. Further, the system is designed to disseminate knowledge and information to the public through publication of patent applications and granted patents. ,,
Many countries, in particular the least developed countries, have only begun to address the challenges of setting up an appropriate patent system in place, to reap the economic and social benefits. The development of these countries' resources and infrastructure and their capacity to benefit from the rapid growth of intellectual property as a valuable economic asset in the world economy, remains an urgent concern.
A national strategy may need to be effectively set up on the basis of a country's unique requirements and priorities. Addressing questions on how the patent system can play an important role in fostering development and eradicating poverty will certainly contribute to a better understanding of the role of the patent system in the broader range of national development policy measures and to formulate a patent policy that meets the interests of each country. 
Economy of India and Intellectual Property Rights
The economy of India is the twelfth largest economy in the world by market exchange rates and the fourth largest by purchasing power parity. India was under the social demo-cratic-based policies from 1947 to 1991. The economy was characterized by regulation, protectionism, and public ownership, leading to pervasive corruption and slow growth. Since 1991, continuing economic liberalization has moved the economy toward a market-based system. A revival of economic reforms and better economic policy in 2000s accelerated India's economic growth rate. By 2008, India had established itself as the world's second-fastest major growing economy. 
During the 1950s, the countries of South-East Asia were worse or on par with most of the African countries in terms of economic growth. In recent years several economies in the region have opened up their markets, presenting remarkable case studies, illustrating how a commitment to market institutions has positively contributed to poverty reduction, technological innovation, and a host of other positive developments. Growth took place, thanks to the continuous level of productive investments that led to entrepreneurs rising from subsistence-level farming into globally competitive businesses. Thanks to strong property rights and a rule of law, people were legally empowered to take risks and reap their rewards. With a framework that encourages success and places strict limitations on power, the region has proven to be remarkably adept at managing resources and creating wealth. The following are some of the key issues that India needs to address in each of the four pillars to spur growth and innovation and, in so doing, increase economic and social welfare.
Strengthening the Economic and Institutional Regime
Taking advantage of the knowledge revolution's potential hinges on effective economic incentives and institutions that promote and facilitate the redeployment of resources from less efficient to more efficient uses, this fundamental pillar of the knowledge economy provides the overall framework for directing the economy. Important elements of the economic and institutional regime include macroeconomic stability, competition, good regulatory policies, and legal rules and procedures conducive to entrepreneurship and risk taking. A key feature is the extent to which the legal system supports basic rules and property rights. India has other intrinsic advantages, such as macroeconomic stability, a large domestic market, and a large and relatively low-cost and skilled workforce. It also has a critical mass of well-educated workers in engineering and science and, unlike China, abundant raw materials. All this should allow the country to emerge as a major hub for manufacturing and service industries. India is still a relatively closed economy compared to other Asian economies, in which exports account for a much larger share of GDP (33% in China and 38% in the Republic of Korea, compared with only 15% in India, in 2003). 
India also needs to boost foreign direct investment (FDI), which can be a facilitator of rapid and efficient transfer and cross-border adoption of new knowledge and technology. FDI flows to India rose by 24% between 2002 and 2003, due to its strong growth and improved economic performance, continued liberalization, its market potential, and the growing competitiveness of Indian IT industries. Successful economic development is a process of continual economic upgrading in which the business environment in a country evolves, to support and encourage increasingly sophisticated ways of competing. A good investment climate provides opportunities and incentives for firms - from micro enterprises to multinationals - to invest productively, create jobs, and expand. Strengthening intellectual property rights (IPRs) and their enforcement, India has passed a series of IPR laws in the past few years, and their enforcement will be the key to its success in the knowledge economy. 
Creating an Efficient Innovation System
The innovation system in any country consists of institutions, rules, and procedures that affect how it acquires, creates, disseminates, and uses knowledge. Innovation in a developing country concerns not just the domestic development of frontier-based knowledge, it relates also to the application and use of new and existing knowledge in the local context. Innovation requires a climate favorable to entrepreneurs, one that is free from bureaucratic, regulatory, and other obstacles, and fosters interactions between the local and outside business world, with different sources of knowledge, including private firms, universities, research institutes, think tanks, consulting firms, and other sources. Tapping global knowledge is another powerful way to facilitate technological change through channels such as FDI, technology transfer, trade, and technology licensing. 
Impact of Modernization in India
The filing of patent applications has increased from 4824 in the year 1999 - 2000 to 28,882 applications in the year 2006 - 2007. The number of applications examined has gone up to 14,119 in 2006 - 2007 against the figure of 2824 in the year 1999 - 2000  [Table 1].
In case of trademarks, the backlog of unexamined applications of approximately five lakh cases was brought down to zero. Renewal of Trademark certificates being done instantaneously in clear cases and new applications were examined within one week. As against only 8,010 registrations in 1999 - 2000, 13 times more TMs were registered in 2006 - 2007, that is, 109,361. Trademark certificates, 3.38 lakhs, were issued during the last three years, whereas, only 1.65 lakh certificates were registered in 64 years (from 1940 to 2004) [Table 2]. 39 Geographically Indicative products have been registered since September, 2003. These include Darjeeling Tea, Chanderi Saree, Pochampally Ikat, Sholapur Chaddar, Mysore Silk, Kullu Shawl, Bidriware, and so on. The filing of applications for Design has increased from 2874 in 1999 - 2000 to 5372 in 2006 - 2007. The number of applications examined has also gone up to 5179 in 2006 - 2007 against the figure of 2067 in 1999 - 2000. The number of Designs registered has also increased from 1382 in 1999 - 2000 to 4431 in 2006 - 2007.
Economic Growth in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry (IPo) Today
In 2002, over 20,000 registered drug manufacturers in India sold $9 billion worth of formulations and bulk drugs. Eighty-five percent of these formulations were sold in India while over 60% of the bulk drugs were exported, mostly to the United States and Russia. Most of the players in the market were small-to-medium enterprises; 250 of the largest companies control 70% of the Indian market. Thanks to the 1970 Patent Act, multinationals represent only 35% of the market, down from 70%, 30 years ago. In terms of the global market, India currently holds a modest 1 - 2% share, but it has been growing at approximately 10% per year. India gained its foothold on the global scene with its innovatively-engineered generic drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), and it is now seeking to become a major player in outsourced clinical research as well as contract manufacturing and research. There are 74 U.S. FDA-approved manufacturing facilities in India, more than in any other country outside the U.S.
Moreover, in 2005, almost 20% of all Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDA) to the FDA are expected to be filed by Indian companies. Growth in other fields notwithstanding, generics is still a large part of the picture. London research company Global Insight estimates that India's share of the global generics market will have risen from 4 to 33% by 2007.
Relationship Between Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Unlike in other countries, the divide between biotechnology and pharmaceuticals remains fairly defined in India.  Biotechology there still plays the role of the pharmaceutical's little sister, but many outsiders have high expectations for the future. India accounted for 2% of the $41 billion global biotech market and in 2003 was ranked third in the Asia-Pacific region and eleventh in the world, in the number of biotechs. In 2004 - 2005, the Indian biotech industry saw its revenues grow by 37% to $1.1 billion. , The Indian biotech market is dominated by biopharmaceuticals; 75% of 2004 - 2005 revenues came from biopharmaceuticals, which saw 30% growth last year. Of the revenues from biopharmaceuticals, vaccines led the way, comprising 47% of the sales. Biologics and large-molecule drugs tend to be more expensive than small-molecule drugs, and India hopes to sweep the market in biogenerics and contract manufacturing as drugs go off patent and Indian companies upgrade their manufacturing capabilities.
Most companies in the biotech sector are extremely small, with only two firms breaking 100 million dollars in revenues.  At last count there were 265 firms registered in India, over 75% of which were incorporated in the last five years. The newness of the companies explains the industry's high consolidation in both physical and financial terms. Almost 50% of all biotechs are in or around Bangalore, and the top ten companies capture 47% of the market. The top five companies were homegrown; Indian firms account for 62% of the biopharma sector and 52% of the industry as a whole. The Association of Biotechnology - Led Enterprises (ABLE), is aiming to expand the industry to $5 billion in revenues generated by one million employees by 2009, and data from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) seems to suggest that it is possible.
In this article, the main parts of the new global regime, as it pertains to intellectual property, have been explored as well as the implications for economic growth. Considering the TRIPS provisions and how the resultant harmonization of laws is likely to affect technology transfers follow. This is then assessed in terms of global growth rates in the post World War II period. Although it is too early to examine the evidence concerning convergence since the advent of TRIPS, it is fairly evident that the new regime will impose monopoly prices on technology transfers that are the engine of 'catch up' growth. However, the increase in globalization, based on a rules-based system, may induce greater foreign investment in developing countries, although the capital still tends to flow to Asia and successful emerging markets, such as China, suggesting that other factors are at play. The TRIPS Agreement, under international economic law, introduced provisions that restricted technology transfers in cross-border transactions. Although the trade provisions are considered as predominate, TRIPS may prove to be the most significant provision concerning economic development, derived from international economic law. The diffusion of technology, thought to be necessary for economic growth, has come up against the legal foundation of IPRs in a new global system that has been otherwise beneficial in providing a rules-based regime supporting globalization.
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