Of War and Peace. Analyzing the International Intellectual Property Discourse.

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.