Intellectual Property Rights Series No. 4

Patents and Development: Lessons learnt from the economic history of Switzerland

Author: Richard Gerster

Publisher: TWN (ISBN: 983-9747-69-X)

Year: 2001   No. of pages: 28

The TWN IPRs Series is a series of papers published to provide a critical analysis of intellectual property rights protection from a Third World perspective. A particular focus is given to the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual property Rights (TRIPS) and its implications for developing countries.

About the book:

This paper provides an analysis of the presently-dominant patent system from a North-South perspective. It shows how the current Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) regime places enormous pressure on the South to adopt Northern-style patent laws.

The paper argues that the implementation of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement in developing countries would constitute a loss of national sovereignty and pose serious obstacles to development.

Drawing lessons from Switzerland's own history of economic development, the paper concludes that developing countries should be able to determine their own system of IPRs according to their specific needs and aspirations.

About the author:

Richard Gerster holds a PhD in Economics from the University of St Gall, Switzerland. After many years of commitment to Swiss NGOs, he is at present a well-respected independent consultant to the Swiss government, NGOs and the World Bank. He has concerned himself with the North-South dimension of patent issues for over 20 years. He welcomes comments on this paper, which could be sent to:


1. Introduction

2. The purpose of the patent system

3. Economic miracles without patents
'Pirate state'

4. Pressure on the South
Price of refusal

5. Loss of national sovereignty due to TRIPS

6. The Indian success story
Access to drugs

7. Patents on life-forms?

8. Playing poker over patents on plants

9. The role of Switzerland
People's initiative

10. Conclusions and suggestions



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US$6.00 for Third World countries

RM8.00 for Malaysia

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