Skip to content

Ruth L. Okediji, When is Intellectual Property an Investment?, in Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Investment Law 94 (Christophe Geiger ed., 2020).

Abstract: Protecting intellectual property (IP) as an investment has important consequences for the emerging landscape of international investment law and for the very nature of IP rights. By recasting IP as an investment ‘asset’ it diminishes the public-oriented aspect of IP and deviates from the competition and social progress norms in which IP law is grounded. This chapter explores the unique characteristics of IP rights which render them unsuitable for classification as traditional investments and discusses the conditions under which IP could be considered an investment for arbitration purposes. It argues that investment arbitration invoked to contest IP laws should be permitted only under a prescribed set of conditions which are designed to preserve the ‘wiggle room’ that is inherent within the international IP system and is critical for preserving national sovereignty, as well as public faith in domestic legislative and judicial processes.