To What Extent Should Less-Developed Countries Enforce Intellectual Property Rights?

Gilles Saint-Paul

Published: September 2005

This paper discusses a number of issues in the context of the debate on intellectual property in less developed countries (LDCs). It starts by discussing the consequences of IP enforcement in LDCs for global innovation and welfare in poorer countries. It then considers the costs and benefits of IP enforcement for a small, open LDC, abstracting from global issues. Finally, it discusses the potential merits of an industrial policy based on open-source software. The analysis suggests that the view that it is best for LDCs to free ride on the global IP regime is overblown.

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