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Fairness in PracticeA Social Contract for a Global Economy$
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Aaron James

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199846153

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199846153.001.0001

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The Level Playing Field

The Level Playing Field

Intellectual Property

(p.285) Chapter Nine The Level Playing Field
Fairness in Practice

Aaron James

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that developing countries should in effect be excused from WTO intellectual property rules. It rejects welfarist and natural rights arguments for TRIPs rules, but poses a novel defense on grounds of competitive fairness. The chapter then rejoins the argument in light of an “instrumentalist” conception of when it is appropriate to level competitive disadvantages in competitive interactions. It is argued that even if freedom from intellectual property rules creates significant competitive advantages for developing countries and their firms, this is perfectly fair insofar as it is required for a fair trade practice overall.

Keywords:   Intellectual property, TRIPS rules, natural rights, competitive fairness, level playing field

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