Intellectual property rights (IPR) are supposed to provide incentives to encourage innovation. However, the provisions of the intellectual property regime that has become dominant around the world have failed to maximize learning. This chapter examines why this is so and what might be done about it. It discusses the potential disadvantages of the IPR system—that it inevitably gives rise to static inefficiencies and excessively strong, poorly designed property rights that may actually impede innovation and growth. It then considers alternatives to IPR for producing and financing knowledge. It concludes that the appropriate intellectual property regime for developing countries and emerging markets is likely to be markedly different from that appropriate for the advanced industrial countries. Alternative ways of designing an innovation system should emphasize prizes and open source. Patents will also play a role, but the details of the patent system matter: a good patent system, for instance, should pay more attention to disclosure, to problems of holdup, and to designing better systems of challenging patents.
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