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  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: September 2009

4 - The domestic origins of a trade-based approach to intellectual property


While Chapter 3 focused on domestic rights of IP owners, this chapter focuses on the domestic evolution of the linkage between intellectual property and trade. Here, the action shifts from the judiciary to the Congress and executive branch as firms and industry associations began lobbying for firmer guarantees that their IP rights would be recognized abroad.

In the United States, the private sector has been remarkably successful in politicizing IP protection. As a result of concerted action by industry associations (such as the PMA, and the Motion Picture Association of America), US policymakers have explicitly linked IP protection to trade in Section 301 of the US Trade and Tariff Act. At the behest of these private sector actors, the US has vigorously pressured violators of such property rights abroad by threatening trade retaliation under Section 301. This trade-based conception of IP rights has been incorporated in regional trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Caribbean Basin Initiative. Finally, representatives of industry associations also succeeded in initiating and mobilizing support for a global IP agreement (TRIPS).

Whether industry representatives sit across the table suggesting specific revisions in foreign countries' draft legislation, avail themselves of the US Section 301 machinery, play the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trump card, compile reports of the latest violations and estimates of lost revenue, conduct raids on pirated goods abroad, or monitor compliance in a vigilant effort to keep the pressure on, they have become important players in the crusade for the worldwide protection of their valuable intellectual property.

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Private Power, Public Law
  • Online ISBN: 9780511491665
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