Yesterday the Cato Institute held an event titled “Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: National Interest or Corporate Handout?” The panel, moderated by Cato’s Simon Lester, featured Tom Giovanetti (Institute for Policy Innovation), William Watson (Cato), and Margot Kaminski (Yale Information Society Project). The video of the event is here.
Lester opened the panel, noting that in the 1990s, trade experts discussed intellectual property in vague terms, not really understanding the particulars. At the time, bringing IP into the trade realm increased support for free trade. Today, however, people have realized the implications of stronger intellectual property protections, and it is causing trouble. The inclusion of intellectual property in the trade regime is generating opposition to trade agreements as much as it increasing support for them. Lester raised the possibility that debates over global intellectual property norms are better left to WIPO. He asked the panelist to address the issue of whether trade should remain part of the trade realm, and if so, what the rules ought to be.