EW Barker Centre for Law & Business

Framing Intellectual Property Law in the 21st Century: Integrating Incentives, Trade, Development, Culture & Human Rights

(in collaboration with the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy, New York University School of Law (NYU))
by Associate Professor Elizabeth Siew-Kuan NG

This research project will bring together leading scholars and experts in Law and Economics to consider how intellectual property law (IP) should be framed in the 21st century. Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, it will analyse how the IP framework is perceived through various lenses, namely, incentive, trade, development, culture and human rights.

It seeks, inter alia, to examine the following topics:

» How well the incentive theory for intellectual property protection comports with reality? How would IP law look if other theories of innovation were considered?
» How IP law should look to accommodate "IP's negative space" -intellectual property that is produced without intellectual property protection (IP without IP)?
» How IP changes when it becomes a coin of trade, and whether IP laws are being shaped by bilateral and plurilateral trade deals?
» Would further harmonization of substantive law be desirable (and achievable) in an increasingly integrated global marketplace, without further exacerbating the developmental gaps among the stakeholders to the international IP system?
» How intellectual property rights can be balanced against norms of human rights, particularly in the areas of expressive and health interests?
» How cultural resources should be framed within the IP paradigm, given that they are traditionally viewed as being shared in nature? Should culture be "propertized" (viz. converted to legal property)?

Whilst there have been studies on some of these individual frames, none have sought to integrate all of these fields. The IP law of the 21st century must accommodate all of the framings that we consider above. Accordingly, the research papers will focus on how best to integrate these five distinct (and sometimes fragmented) themes as part of a forthcoming book project which will be co-edited by Professor Rochelle Dreyfuss and Associate Professor Elizabeth Siew-Kuan Ng.

The papers were presented at a public conference organized by the Centre for Law and Business (Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore (NUS)) and co-hosted by the Engelberg Centre on Innovation Law and Policy (New York University(NYU)) which was held in Singapore, on August 14 & 15, 2014.

Conference Website | Event Report