Purpose – Although a large number of Arab countries are members of the World Trade Organisation and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, most of these countries were unable to structure a national intellectual property protection regime which takes into consideration their development plans. The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the history of Arab countries' participation in multilateral trade and intellectual property negotiations and calls for the maximum utilisation by these countries of the intellectual property policy space available to them under international law.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws from the texts of international agreements and from the available literature on intellectual property. The paper also makes use of various international reports and studies on intellectual property and development.
Findings – The paper argues that due to the minimal participation and involvement by Arab countries in international trade and intellectual property negotiations, officials in these countries lacked deep knowledge and understanding about the technical and legal issues engulfing the regulation and implementation of intellectual property. The paper finds that those countries mostly active in negotiations were more able to capitalise on the system and to benefit from the available policy space in terms of national development. Finally, the paper provides recommendations aimed towards enhancing the policy space and utilising intellectual property for development purposes.
Originality/value – These findings are important for policy makers, officials and those interested in understanding the relation between intellectual property protection and development and how developing and Arab countries would be able to maximize the benefits from the international protection regime.
Uncontrolled Keywords (separate with ;):
Arabian Peninsula; Free trade; Intellectual property; Property rights