Intellectual Property Laws- Socialist or Capitalist
For instance, a developing nation might not have scope of many companies having capacity to pay royalty amount to use the resources and technology of the patent holders. But the same is possible in a developed nation like the United Nations where the income is higher and the companies, prima facie, are capable of exploiting each other’s patents by paying the royalty amount. Thus, there cannot be a blanket implementation of the intellectual property rules around the globe.
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Intellectual property rights such as the patents, trademarks, copyrights, licenses etc., provide certain power to the firms or creators to create a barrier in the market for other players, hence, restricting the competition. It is at the discretion of the companies to generate higher consumer prices by exercising their monopolies. Here, it is necessary to understand the economic point. It is because in the market with perfect competition, the prices are uniform and it is only in the market with monopolies where a particular firm determines the consumers prices. The most recent example of COVID-vaccine patents shall explain every aspect of IP law being capitalistic. COVID-19, the novel situation which almost brought the world at a standstill position, is sought to be cured by many players in the global market. Moderna has taken the initiative of not exercising its patents. No other player or country has refrained from using its patent rights during a pandemic. Why would any company waive its patent rights over a innovation or product that is capable of yielding a lot of gains? Had it been mandated by the international IP regulations to waive off the patent rights during the pandemic or any emergency situation, the situation would haven been more socialistic and better. It is true that with the emergence of competition in the market, the profits shall decline but the same can be ignored when it comes to choosing between profits and people.
Here, Marxism shall play a very crucial role. Marx always had a belief that Intellectual property laws were invented by and for early capitalism. He relied on a concept called ‘general intellect’ which suggests that at some point a collective learning process shall surpass physical labour and money as productive force. The theory can now be linked to technology industry where the intellectual property rights play a prime role. The technology should not be patented to allow other companies or individuals to use the same. The product may be patented for a comparatively less capitalistic economy.
Paradigm shift in approaches of companies in the market
The approaches of the companies unfortunately have inclined towards profits merely. The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a mandate for the companies but it has now become a formality for most of the enterprises. The legal provisions have added fuel to the fire as well. Even if the nations and the courts seek to change the provisions and add certain socialistic provisions, the structure and nature of the companies might not support it. It is also because the young minds need a motive of earning while starting entrepreneurship. The companies like TATA have always been keen towards fulfilling their social responsibility towards the society. But the young entrepreneurs might not do the same. At this point of time, the world economy has moved towards profits and forming a monopoly in the market. The perfect competition is hypothetical because no two companies can have same products. A factor of differentiation and Unique Selling Proposition is quite prevalent and therefore, the intellectual property rights play a very dominating role. The companies, especially technology-driven, try to patent their technology and prevent anyone else from using the same, except by paying the royalty amount or the requisite fees.
The economic theories demonstrate that the intellectual property rights can play either a positive or negative role on influencing the economic growth and development. It depends on various factors in a particular nation. It is already stated that a blanket implementation of legal provisions and statutes regarding intellectual property rights is not possible on all the nations. The protection systems should be based upon market economy mechanisms and overcome the problems imposed by the creation and dissemination of information. The issues regarding social costs and competitive abuses have to be addressed as well. The Marxist theory also aimed to make the concepts of individual capitalist behaviour and also how it contributes to economic capitalism understandable and clear. It can also be seen that the major task of intellectual property is to integrate abstract objects and creativity of labour and entrepreneurs together into a commodity. And it has to be further also remembered that it is not just an economic phenomenon but also a social one. Capitalist employers and their knowledge workers find themselves living in the condition called negative exclusive community. The vicious circle has to be broken and ended at a faster pace to protect our global village.
Author : Tanya Saraswat, in case of any query, contact us at Global Patent Filing or write back us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.