On a related note, Michael Geist has a column (firstname.lastname@example.org, password=thestar) in today's Toronto Star arguing that the World Trade Organization's intellectual property provisions are unfair to developing countries [via Geist's Internet Law News]. It contains the very interesting—at least to me—assertion that developed nations resisted legalizing pharmaceutical patents until their pharmaceutical industries were mature.
The one-sided nature of global intellectual property law is best illustrated by the legal protections granted to pharmaceutical products. Developed countries that are now home to pharmaceutical giants persistently resisted providing patents for pharmaceutical products until their industries were well developed ? France introduced pharmaceutical patents in 1960, Germany in 1968, Japan in 1976, Switzerland in 1977, and Italy and Sweden in 1978.
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