Inderscience Publishers

Harmonisation of intellectual property: issues in the South Pacific

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This article introduces issues relating to harmonisation of intellectual property as that process impacts on small states in the South Pacific. It uses New Zealand as a model because its economy is the most developed of those states and the one for which intellectual property is the most significant. In order to draw out the issues of harmonisation, the article explores the meaning of harmonisation as that term has been used in relation to intellectual property. It shows that those issues are essentially ones associated with lifting the levels of global intellectual property protection. It then briefly considers harmonisation in the context of bilateral negotiations between parties mismatched in negotiating strength to illustrate the pressure that is exerted to lift those levels. The article concludes by identifying harmonisation as a means adopted by stronger nations of imposing higher standards of intellectual property on nations in a poorer bargaining position.

Keywords: intellectual property harmonisation, South Pacific, New Zealand, bilateral negotiations, bargaining powers, copyright, patents, trademarks, business globalisation, Asia-Pacific, multidisciplinary perspectives

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