Author (Your Name)

Emily Honig, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Global Studies Program




The field of intellectual property, roughly defined as "a product of the intellect that has commercial value," is one of the growing fields of international legal debate, as the economies of the world become increasingly interconnected and the world's corporations operate overseas with increasing frequency. The literature in the field of international law and intellectual property rights (IPRs) tends to suggest that states, for political or economic reasons, have little choice but to bow to the wishes of multinational corporations (MNCs) and provide increased protection for IPRs. However, there are a number of cases that show that under certain circumstances, states and governmental bodies are willing and able to push back resist these MNCs and defy the general trend toward greater IPR protection. What are these conditions? When does the balance between meeting MNCs' demands and other concerns shift? In this study, the dependent variable is resistance to protection of foreign corporations' IP and the independent variables are the interests and preferences that lead states to this resistance. While scholars such as Okediji might propose that such resistance is the result of the particular economies in question, and that in such cases IPR protection has proved to be less than conducive to economic growth, further study has shown that this is not an adequate explanation because the two do not always go hand in hand. Rather, while economic growth is always a priority, it is not a reason unto itself for a state to resist IPRs. It is the state's particular political situation - which includes its economic situation - and policy goals that lead it to the conclusion that such resistance will be the most advantageous route to economic growth, political gain or other long-term goals. My work has shown that states are not always acting at the behest of MNCs. States are motivated to resist pressure for increasingly protective IPR regimes and even decrease IPRs when acting in pursuit of their own interests and preferences.


Intellectual property -- Government policy, Intellectual property (International law), Patent laws and legislation, Copyright, International