April 19, 2011

Are IP Rights Really Statutory Monopolies?

Bangkok Post, Corporate Counsellor Column

Two confusing economic theories mingled with commercial-economic perspectives often make the average businesspersons scratch their heads and frown. On the one hand, the policy of a free market economy encourages competition. On the other hand, because intellectual property rights (IPRs) are said to provide exclusive rights in a number of circumstances, IPRs are understood to be anti-competitive. This has led people to conclude that IPRs are monopolies, but this way of thinking is incorrect. This article argues that IPRs protect the rights-owner from unfair competition, not competition generally.

Edward Kelly