[A2k] WTO TRIPS Council (June 2014) - India's intervention on Intellectual Property and Innovation: Innovation Incubators

Perlman, Marc marc_perlman at brown.edu
Wed Jun 11 11:03:01 PDT 2014

This looks to me like a tactical error on the part of India:

> On Wednesday, 11 June 2014, India delivered a statement at the WTO TRIPS
> Council on"Intellectual Property and Innovation: Innovation Incubators";
> Chinese Taipei (WTO speak for Taiwan) and the United States proposed this
> agenda item.

> ... Chair, since we are discussing about the innovation, let me also refer
> to
> the book written by Anna Lee Saxenian: Regional Advantage: Culture and
> Competition in Silicon Valley and Route 128. The book is a comparative
> study of the two biggest electronics and ICT innovation centres in the US
> viz the Silicon Valley and Route 128 corridor in Massachusetts ...

>  While there was collaboration,
> openness and informal exchange of information and knowledge between these
> firms in Silicon Valley, the culture in Route 128 was of closure and
> secrecy. ...

> Thus innovation cannot be promoted
> through *the culture of secrecy propounded by the IP regime* but through
> open
> collaborative models, free exchange of information etc.

In my mind's ear I already hear the US & Taiwan delegates rehearsing their

"Aside from trade secret law, the IP regime is entirely compatible with a
culture of openness and the free sharing of information.  In fact, patent
law is biased *against* secrecy, in that it requires disclosure of the
invention in return for protection.  It's even possible to understand trade
secret law as designed to *reduce* secrecy to a bare minimum (see Mark
Lemley in the *Stanford Law Review,* November 2008)."

None of this reaches the substantive issues.  But throwing out a phrase
like "culture of secrecy"--though it has a nice ring to it--is like
throwing red meat to sharks.  In the resulting feeding frenzy the waters
churn and froth so much that the deeper issues can get obscured.

Marc Perlman

Associate Professor
Department of Music
Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island 02912


*Unplayed Melodies: Javanese Gamelan and the Genesis of Music Theory*

"From 'Folklore' to 'Knowledge' in Global Governance: On the Metamorphoses
of the Unauthored"

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