Squaring implementation and regulation: lessons for theory of IPRs protection

This concluding project of the research agenda aims to draw lessons for international intellectual property theories and rules design on the basis of the insights on enforcement and compliance – necessarily building upon the theory of graduation. It will be undertaken using a combination of law, economics and international relations approaches.

Graduation theory argues that the lack of enforcement and realisation of IPRs in many countries is linked to levels of social and economic development and the lack of international competitiveness. Levels of protection required by the international system therefore should depend on reaching defined levels of competitiveness, and should not be mandatory prior to this stage. In other words, levels of protection required should ‘graduate’ in accordance with thresholds defined in international agreements.


The project takes into account the results of the cluster. It tests the theory and further seeks to refine it both in terms of rules and appropriate economic indicators. It looks into substantive rules and examines where protection should be uniform, and where it should be graduated. It will equally look into enforcement rules. Do they sufficiently distinguish between the IPRs at stake and is there enough room for countries to prioritise on enforcement in fields important to them? Can countries decide to place more emphasis on the enforcement of pharmaceutical trademarks and regard copyright enforcement over digital movie- and song-databases as an issue of only secondary importance? What are the needs/justifications for such differentiations?


The project will discuss relations to other theories contemplating alternative systems and adjustments to existing IP laws. Welfare analyses of enforcement policies as well as research results on the compliance with IPRs will be tested against existing studies and theories. They will also be investigated against the background of international relations’ compliance theories.



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