The intellectual property regime: are there lessons for climate change negotiations?

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    States have been negotiating intellectual property rights for a long time. Some multilateral intellectual property treaties date back to the 19th century. By comparison the climate change regime is a young regime. Both regimes create norms around free-riding behaviour. In both cases, the free-riding behaviour is global, meaning that most states either have been or are free riders. Developed countries are largely responsible for the current concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but it is also clear that large developing countries like China and India will be responsible for much of the increase in energy-related CO2 emissions. In 2007 China became the biggest emitter of energy-related CO2 on an annual basis. Developed countries like Switzerland, which today support high standard intellectual property rights, were in the past free riders on knowledge assets.3 The purpose of this chapter is to consider whether there are lessons we can draw from the long evolution of the intellectual property regime that might help states to negotiate significant new commitments to reduce their CO2 emissions. Before beginning, we need a better understanding of the structure of the free-riding behaviour that each regime aims to restrict. The next section of this chapter does this. The remaining sections discuss some possible lessons.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on Intellectual Property and Climate Change
    Editors Joshua D. Sarnoff
    Place of PublicationCheltenham, United Kingdom
    PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
    ISBN (Print)978 1 84980 467 7
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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