nep-ipr New Economics Papers
on Intellectual Property Rights
Issue of 2022‒12‒05
two papers chosen by
Giovanni Ramello
Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”

  1. TRIPS+: IP Privileges for Pharmaceuticals and Agricultural Chemicals By Moir, Hazel
  2. Patent Length and Breadth as Policy Instruments: A Systematic Review of Recent Contributions to the Theory of Optimal Patent Design By Leandro M. Meller

  1. By: Moir, Hazel
    Abstract: Intellectual property (IP) privileges are one of the most contentious areas of international economic regulation. This chapter uses the example of pharmaceuticals to consider the question of balance in patent policy and how this is impacted by international trade negotiations. It reviews key provisions in TRIPS from the contrasting perspectives of inventors of new medicines and users of such medicines. A critical issue identified is the breadth of privilege granted to patent holders and the removal of prior social safeguards in TRIPS. Evidence from recent trade treaties and their negotiation shows how the interests of patent holders often prevail against the interests of patients and society. Closely related to patent privileges for pharmaceuticals are privileges regarding the use of clinical trial data to obtain marketing approval for medicines. Such privileges are also provided in TRIPS, and subsequent treaties, for agricultural chemicals. An interesting aspect emerging from the comparison of data protection privileges for these two product categories is that treaties embody protections to protect unnecessary testing on animals but not on humans.
    Date: 2022–06–18
  2. By: Leandro M. Meller (Universidad Nacional del Sur/CONICET)
    Abstract: This article offers a systematic review of the last ten years of contributions to the theoretical literature on optimal patent policy, with focus on patent length and breadth as alternative tools for encouraging innovation, growth or welfare improvement. The articles were classified according to their assumptions about the interconnectedness of different innovations. Three cases have been identified: isolated innovations, cumulative innovations (which, in turn, can be divided into ”research tool” and ”qualityladder” cases) and complementary innovations. According to the results, optimal patent length is finite in some models, whereas it is infinite in others. A similar diversity of results was found in models featuring patent breadth: some of them suggest that it should be minimum, others conclude that an intermediate value would be optimal, and others are more prone to favour maximum breadth. Few works seemed to conclude that two or more kinds of soutions were possible. The four kinds of models exhibited, up to a certain degree, this seeming inconsistency. As a consequence, works presenting sufficient conditions for different sorts of optimal solutions have not been found within this period.
    Date: 2022–11

This nep-ipr issue is ©2022 by Giovanni Ramello. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.