International Intellectual Property Institute

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI) was founded by Bruce Lehman, former commissioner of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) during the Clinton administration. IIPI advocates the use of intellectual property systems — patents, trademarks, copyrights — for promoting economic growth through out the world.

The IIPI got started from funding by private corporations, and IIPI includes Microsoft, Merck, Ford, IBM, Time Warner, and other larger corporations as funders. Along with larger corporate backing, IIPI has coordinated projects with the USPTO and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). [1]

Intellectual property (IP) law is tightly coupled with the economic globalization movement, with Western economies (led by the U.S.) trying to impose Western-style IP systems into foreign countries. Advocates of such policies claim that without strong IP systems similiar to the U.S., developing countries will not be able to develop sustainable (knowledge-based) economic systems. However, critics claim the push to establish Western-style IP systems in other countries is to facilitate exploitation by large Western corporations with existing IP portfolios and resources that local communities cannot compete against. The IP battle id fore-front in the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa and the inability for African countries to afford much needed patented drugs owned by large Western-based pharmaceutical giants.

In a Technology Review interview with Bruce Lehman, Lehman makes the following interesting remark (emphasis added):

If you're going to develop knowledge-based economies in othercountries, and if theyre going to get rich, they have to have effective intellectual property systems. When I left government, I wanted to set up an institution which would help people in developing countries understand how to use these new tools which they've been forced to accept as a result of trade negotiations. Doing so would be a win-win situation because it would create constituencies in these countries that would begin to see things our way. So instead of having the tension of us against them all the time, we would move forward together into a more harmonious world. [2]

Lehman openly admits that the acceptance of Western-style IP systems is not done by mutual agreement, but forced upon developing countries, with the one of the primary goals of IIPI is to have developing countries "see things our way" in order to produce a "win-win" situation.


External links