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Vol. 2 (2006)

Intellectual Property Rights And The Public Domain In The New World Order

John Frow

The proprietary system of intellectual property rights introduced by the TRIPS regime is premised on Western, neo-liberal notions of the nature of property. This article first highlights a number of recent changes in the global organisation of intellectual property rights. These changes indicate the international convergence of intellectual property law. The repercussions of the TRIPS regime on pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and genetic research are then examined. Finally, it stresses the importance of the idea of “common heritage” as a better way of thinking about the public domain.


Professor of English Language and Literature and Head of the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne; B.A.’69, Australian National University; M.A. ’75, Cornell University; Ph.D. ’77 Cornell University.

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