Perceptions of Intellectual Property: A Review.

In “The right to good ideas: patents and the poor”, The Economist depicts two driving forces in the contemporary discourse on IP and globalization. The one is interested in advancing the knowledge economy, an approach based on the belief that knowledge is the driving factor behind economic growth. The other resides on a belief that IP is a major means to advance the process of globalization. While the former is strongly motivated by new economic growth theory, as for example advanced by Stanford professor Paul Romer, the latter is based on typical anti-globalization arguments, such as for example the position that the IP system helps multinational companies to build up monopolies to the detriment of the poor, drives small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and local business in developing countries out of business and increases prices for consumer products, be they pharmaceuticals or software. The purpose of this review is to help understand the current discourse on intellectual property, to grasp underlying themes, assumptions and connotations associated with the term “IP”, so as to identify paths leading to a more comprehensive understanding of IP and the opportunities and pitfalls it may provide.