Intellectual Property Monopolies: Towards a New Mercantilism

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Siyasal Bilimler Dergisi, vol.4, no.1, 2016 (Other Refereed National Journals)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 4 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.14782/sbd.2016117954
  • Title of Journal : Siyasal Bilimler Dergisi


The agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs), signed within the GATT framework in 1994, set the international standards and objectives for the protection of intellectual property. Although the agreement was very favorable to western intellectual property oriented firms, the few concessions to developing countries, such as a ten-years delay to implement harsher intellectual property regulations, left some core country corporations dissatisfied. Indeed, as soon as the TRIPs agreement was signed, intellectual property firms, along with and via their respective states, started pushing for harsher intellectual property legislations in bilateral Free Trade Agreements, thus bypassing global regulations. Drawing from the debate on the state and globalization, as well as the question on the relation between intellectual property and capital accumulation, this paper exposes the new collusions between state and capital that rendered possible the emergence of strong intellectual property protection legislations virtually all over the globe, and proposes to interpret that evolution as a signal telling of the new functioning of the world economy. The author makes the case that one can define the current IP regime as a mercantilist system in which states, far from losing power against the growing internationalization of economic regulations, put their capacities in service of “their” IP-intensive corporations. In conclusion, the author suggests a further research agenda in which intellectual property issues can provide a window into our understanding of current trends in the workings of the world economy.