To Serve and Protect: The Challenge for Intellectual Property Law

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Technology and Competition/ Technologie et Concurrence: Contributions in Honour of Mélanges en L'Honneur de Hanns Ullrich. Brussels: Larcier, 2009.


cost of Intellectual prop; EU reforms in IP law; harmonize intellectual property law; international intellectual property law; International Law Discussion Group; international principles for intellectual property law; IP law and public service; reforms in IP law; trends in intellectual property law


This paper, based on a presentation in 2009 to the International Law Discussion Group at Chatham House, London (UK), considers the movement for harmonizing intellectual property laws and addresses some structural problems that need to be overcome before that goal is attempted. Its theme is that there is little point in striving to harmonize before one has a set of concordant rules and principles that can be generally agreed upon and endorsed. We are far from that condition yet. The paper examines some basic trends in intellectual property law, taking various US and EU reforms and reform proposals as illustrations. The questions it considers are: Is the public being well served by these laws? Is it paying too much for what it is getting?

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