This project seeks to investigate and develop the increasing international debate as to the role played by intellectual property rights, and whether the power now exercised by right owners is inconsistent with encouragement of innovation and diffusion and furthering of knowledge. Key aspects of the work are considering the impact of intellectual property rights in jurisdictions in the developed world and considering the negotiation and history of the TRIPS agreement, potential opportunities for application of TRIPS and the reaction of the developed world to this, and the impact of this for the developing world and international trade.
The project also reviews the role played to date by competition law, in particular the use of compulsory licences and misuse of market power legislation in fettering the power of right owners; the extent to which such use of such principles is consistent with the fundamentals tenets of competition law; and other means for potential use of competition principles in this field, both nationally and through international bodies.
In addition, the project is reviewing the relevance of normative human rights instruments in this field, and the extent to which a legal regime could be created where relevant human rights, particularly the right to property, the right to life and freedom of expression can be further used to create appropriate limits on the impact of intellectual property rights.
The final aspect of the project is to consider the extent to which there is the need and potential for cohesion between the above principles, and for a new international regime to be created which allows appropriate incentives to create, innovate and develop, while also encouraging wider development and international trade.