The Ethics of Intellectual Property Rights in an Era of Globalization

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 41 (4):841-851 (2013)
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In recent decades, advances in information technology have given rise to a post-industrial society in which emphasis on the manufacture of material goods has been supplanted by the creation of intellectual property. Indeed, this new “knowledge economy” can be tracked by the exponential growth in patented products across a range of sectors since the 1980s. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the number of annual patent applications submitted grew from 112,379 to 520,277 over the past three decades, a 464% increase.The transformation in the industrial markets has been accompanied by the rise of a new, global institution for coordinating intellectual property rights : the World Trade Organization.



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