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Trade liberalisation is typically associated with pressure from corporate interests for less regulation in most areas of the economy. In contrast, intellectual property works in the opposite direction. As explained by Mike Willis, an intellectual property law consultant, (http://apo.org.au/node/7496 ), “It is a fact of geo-political life that the economic privileges that attach to intellectual property rights now accrue overwhelmingly to large corporate interests - not individuals. The largest users of the patent system, for example, are chemical and pharmaceutical companies. Both patent and copyright law confer huge benefits on some and significant costs on others. China, for example, is reportedly paying in excess of US$5 billion a year in patent licence fees to gain access to technology. With around 90 per cent of patents registered in Australia being foreign-owned, one wonders about the comparable dollar amount here, who’s bearing the cost and what the implications of that might be.”
“Intellectual Property Rights Protection regimes, such as patents and copyright, unfairly discriminate against small firms in Australia and those in less developed and emerging markets.”
Discuss.

Question Set #170

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