Economic Development and Patents


The recent history seems to show that technology and knowledge are important factors for economic growth and development. Since the creation of the first mechanism to protect inventions in 15 th century, the patent system has evolved with a view to promote innovation and encouraging economic development. By offering exclusive rights for a limited period, an inventor may recover R&D costs and investments. It also promotes investment to commercialize and market new inventions so that the general public can enjoy the fruit of the innovation. Further, the system is designed to disseminate knowledge and information to the public through publication of patent applications and granted patents.

Many countries, in particular least developed countries, have only begun to address the challenges of setting up an appropriate patent system in place to reap economic and social benefits. The development of these countries' resources and infrastructure and their capacity to benefit from the rapid growth of intellectual property as a valuable economic asset in the world economy remain an urgent concern.

In view of the disparity in economic wealth between nations, does the patent system hamper development rather than promote it? How can both nations and individuals utilize the patent system and develop national intellectual property assets? In a recent past, a number of questions have been raised in respect of the potential effects of different degrees and forms of patent protection on various economic and social measures. Considering the differences among countries, there might be a need to question the assumption of applying the same patent standard to all. A national strategy may need to be effectively set up on the basis of a country's unique requirements and priorities. Addressing questions as to how the patent system can play an important role in fostering development and eradicating poverty will certainly contribute to a better understanding of the role of the patent system in the broader range of national development policy measures and to formulate a patent policy that meets the interests of each country.


Related Sites

The inclusion of a link to a site does not imply the agreement of WIPO, its Member States or the International Bureau with any of the views expressed on the site.

World Intellectual Property Organization


Other Intergovernmental Organizations


Non-Governmental Organizations