Using Competition Law to Promote Access to Knowledge

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Book Chapter

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One of the points of convergence among the many strands of the A2K movement is resistance to the one-size-fits-all ratcheting up of intellectual property provisions around the world. The resistance is grounded in analysis showing that intellectual property rules often create social costs that far outweigh their intended benefits. Much of the A2K movement’s advocacy for limitations of intellectual property rights is located within the field of intellectual property law – promoting the inclusion and use of balancing mechanisms within the laws granting intellectual property rights. But intellectual property rights are also shaped and limited by their interaction with other fields of law, competition law being a prime example. After describing the theoretical and doctrinal underpinnings of a shift of A2K legal advocacy toward the use of competition law, this paper surveys some of the strategic advantages of using competition norms to reframe political debates and shift struggles into new, potentially more hospitable, forums.

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