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Policy Discussion Paper

Intellectual Property Rights: Implications for Development

This policy discussion paper (156 pages) is one of the products of the joint UNCTAD-ICTSD Project on Intellectual Property Rights and Sustainable Development. It is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the key policy issues raised by intellectual property rights (IPRs) and their impact on economic development, poverty alleviation and sustainable human environment.

Part One provides a general explanation of the rationale behind IPRs and their evolution, as well as an overview of the multilateral system for their protection. These international rules have important socio-economic implications that are dealt with in Parts Two and Three. Part Two addresses some broad cross-cutting issues that constitute the basic premises behind the adoption of stronger IPR regimes in developing countries, such as the fostering of innovation and creativity as well as access to and use of new technologies. Finally, Part Three discusses the impact of new IPR standards on specific areas of concern for developing countries, namely: health; food, agriculture and biodiversity; traditional knowledge and folklore; and access to knowledge and educational, technical and scientific information. Parts Two and Three therefore analyse in more depth some of the issues addressed in Part One.

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