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Bargaining over the climate: Lessons from intellectual property negotiations

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Does the evolution of the intellectual property regime hold any lessons for the climate change regime? The paper argues that the architecture of the intellectual property regime recognizes the complexity of free-riding behaviour and divides the problem amongst a number of treaties. The integration of intellectual property trade standards into the trade regime provides plaintiff states with a way to inflict both political and economic costs on free riders. Perhaps the most important lesson relates to the way in which a highly coordinated international business network was able to shift intellectual property into the multilateral trade regime and obtain standards most countries at the time did not really want because they were net intellectual property importers.


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