Abstract - The Information Society 19(2)

Cross-Sectoral Differences in Intellectual Property Enforcement in Developing Countries: The Role of State-Industry Linkages

Krishna P. Jayakar


Leading developing countries have recently introduced some reforms in their national intellectual property regimes to harmonize them with international treaties and agreements. But major differences remain in how these laws are applied to different information industries, and how they are enforced on the ground. While intellectual property law applies to a host of information products ranging from music to computer programs, governments have selectively enforced the law in some information industries, while neglecting to extend the same protection to others. Based on the comparative institutionalist approach, this paper identifies two variables—state-industry linkages and level of innovative activity—that may explain the selective enforcement of intellectual property law. Intellectual property rights were expected to be better protected in information industries with strong state-industry linkages and higher levels of domestic innovation. This expectation was tested through a comparative study of four intellectual property industries from the Asian region. The results confirmed the expectation, but also demonstrated that strong state-industry linkages may independently correlate with high levels of intellectual property protection, even in industries where the current levels of innovative activity are low.

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