from the they-get-it dept
Techdirt has been pointing out for years that more patents is not the same thing as more innovation, even though many around the world would have us believe otherwise. It seems the message is finally getting through: here's a remarkable statement from India on the subject of innovation and small- and medium-sized companies, made at a TRIPS Council meeting:
there is no direct correlation between IP and Innovation even for the Small and Medium Industries. The technological progress even in the developed world had been achieved not through IP protection but through focussed governmental interventions like compulsory licenses, cross licensing, government funding, and competition policy. It is unfortunate that some of the technologically developed countries would like to showcase the positive effect of IP on innovation, when historically these countries including the proponents of this Agenda Item have reached this stage of technological development by focussing solely on the development of their own domestic industry without caring for the intellectuals property rights of the foreigners or the right holders. After achieving a high level of development, they are now attempting to perpetuate their hold on their technologies by making a push towards a TRIPS plus regime.
The last part is a clear dig at the US, which began as a pirate nation, but is now trying to impose the highest level of protection for intellectual monopolies on countries that are still at an early stage of their development, through the many bilateral treaties it has signed with them, as well as things like ACTA and TPP. The statement from India goes on:
Their agenda is not to create an environment where developing countries progress technologically, but to block their progress through the stringent IP regime. It is therefore essential that the flexibilities provided by the TRIPS Agreement need to be secured at any cost, if the people in the developing countries are to enjoy the benefits of innovations.
That is, far from acting as a spur to innovation in countries like India, intellectual monopolies prevent small- and medium-sized companies there from progressing to the point where they are able to compete in global markets with the Western enterprises that are pushing for stricter enforcement of patents and trademarks. This is why emerging countries would do well to think twice before signing up to restrictive FTAs and wide-ranging agreements like TPP that are specifically designed to keep them at a lower level of technological development.