09 November 2020

IP Nationalism

'Economic Nationalism in Intellectual Property Policy and Law' (Research Paper of the Faculty of Law of Goethe University Frankfurt/M. No. 6/2020) by Alexander Peukert comments 

The long-standing battle between economic nationalism and globalism has again taken center stage in geopolitics. This article applies this dichotomy to the law and policy of international intellectual property (IP). Most commentators see IP as a prime example of globalization. The article challenges this view on several levels. In a nutshell, it claims that economic nationalist concerns about domestic industries and economic development lie at the heart of the global IP system. To support this argument, the article summarizes and categorizes IP policies adopted by selected European countries, the European Union, and the U.S. Section I presents three types of inbound IP policies that aim to foster local economic development and innovation. Section II adds three versions of outbound IP policies that, in contrast, target foreign countries and markets. Concluding section III traces a dialectic virtuous circle of economic nationalist motives leading to global legal structures and identifies the function and legal structure of IP as the reason for the resilience and even dominance of economic nationalist motives in international IP politics. IP concerns exclusive private rights that are territorially limited creatures of (supra-)national statutes. These legal structures make up the economic nationalist DNA of IP.