Dr. Juma also makes a refreshing analysis of the role that intellectual property law can play in encouraging sustainable development - an analysis that acknowledges that patent systems and technological development do not always march in lock-step, but do co-evolve to an important extent. As he writes:
Protecting intellectual property rights (IPRs) is a critical aspect of business development and international partnerships. But overly protective systems could have a negative impact on creativity. It is therefore important to design intellectual property protection systems that take the special needs of African countries into account.Dr. Juma presents not only an optimistic view of what can be achieved in the developing world, but offers a detailed prescription of some of the factors necessary for sustainable development to be achieved.
To encourage innovation and unlock local capital, individuals and corporations need to feel that their research is protected; where IPRs have been violated, compensation must be provided. Most countries, however, developed without these protections being structured across the economy in any clear way. Indeed, institutional development of patent regimes usually occurred after a country’s firms achieved a significant level of innovation capability and then desired to protect their investments. This line of thinking would lead to a global intellectual property regime that acknowledges the co-evolutionary nature of technological innovation and enforcement of intellectual property rights.