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Global Ruling. Intellectual Property and Development in the United Nations Knowledge Economy

This paper firstly provides an ethnographic account of the dynamic of events in Geneva in 2004, when meetings of various multilateral agencies and global civil society organizations were held simultaneously to discuss the proposal to include the Development Agenda as a key element of intellectual property rights (IPR), seeking to insert some public policy aspects into the existing legal frameworks on IPR. Secondly we describe the historical context for the emergence of the intellectual property system as global legislation, explaining how it came into being and the ways in which it intertwines with international trade, examining the extent of its impact and its interfaces with various domains of social life, including culture and knowledge. Finally, based on interviews, documents and minutes from international agency meetings, we reconstruct the three-year process of negotiating the Development Agenda at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), describing the role of its main actors. Since Brazil, a member state of the organization, assumed a lead role in promoting the Agenda, we examine the disputes that occurred during this process as political actors veered back and forth in their support for the international system to protect and enforce intellectual property rights, and the tensions generated as IPRs become barriers to the trade and development of developing nations.

trade regulation; global policy; WTO; Intellectual Property


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