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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Patented Drugs, Generic Alternatives and Intellectual Property Regimes in Developing Countries


We consider when and to what extent a country will unilaterally protect intellectual property when it does no patentable innovation of its own. Framing the strength of an intellectual property regime in terms of the scope of patents, our model analyzes incentives of developing countries to manufacture generic versions of patented goods. The model provides insights into where problems arise in negotiating intellectual property treaties, when multinationals want to license intellectual property for local manufacture, and how changes in wealth and technology affect a country’s intellectual property regime.

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