Ruth L. Okediji, IP Essentialism and the Authority of the Firm, 117 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 274 (2008).
Abstract: The goal of translating the diffuse gains from domestic intellectual property (IP) protection in the global North into an international setting characterized by vast disparities in national income levels, diverse cultural and historical contexts, and distinct legal institutions has long caused pathological behavior in global IP politics. The A2K movement reflects this pathology in new ways. The paradox of the movement, well captured in Amy Kapczynski’s article, is that it depends so integrally on the core assumptions that sustain the legitimacy of the international IP system, the most essential of which is that technological innovation is a principal cause of national economic growth. Yet fostering endogenous economic growth has not occupied a central place in A2K strategies. If altering the terms and text of the debate over the global conditions of IP protection is the organizational hook to the A2K mobilization, it is striking that the fundamental theme of the debate—inducing economic growth—is not central to the movement’s internal self-legitimation. In this brief Response, I put forward a few insights highlighting the discursive nature of the movement, the entrenchment of Coase’s firm in rationalizations of the global necessity for IP protection, and the movement’s own reliance on IP and market rules to maintain its position of influence in multiple international fora.