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Intellectual Property and Security: A Preliminary Exploration

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This article explores the relationship between the concept of ‘security' and intellectual property. Security today encompasses traditional state-centric, military concerns (such as prevention of external aggression) to ‘human security' concerns, which places individuals rather than states as the main objects in need of security. The intellectual property system, consisting of copyright and related rights and industrial property, seeks to encourage creativity and inventiveness, which are necessary components of the economic, cultural and technological well-being of countries. This preliminary examination reveals that national security concerns and questions of ‘ ordre public ' have permeated international intellectual property treaties since the late nineteenth century. In today's context of international struggle against wanton terrorism (and possibly nuclear terrorism), of geo-economic competition among countries and of the struggle to become free from the shackles of poverty, intellectual property has emerged as a critical factor for individual, national and international security. This paper examines the relationship between security and particular aspects of intellectual property – patents, patent information and trade secrets.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Universities of McGill and Montreal

Publication date: 2005-04-01

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