The Geography-IP Interface

Even as there has been increasing harmonization of IP law across the world as a condition of free trade agreements, the geography of the goods and services IP protects, in terms of its production and consumption, remains in continuous evolution.

The Conference will promote three lines of enquiry, but also welcome other contributions:

The globalisation of inventive activities and the role of IP.

Many nations that were a decade ago considered “developing” are increasingly contributing to invention and innovation. Their use of IP raises questions about both the contents and level of their inventive efforts, and on the way local IP legislation and enforcement affect them. The Conference will assess the legislative and enforcement changes that have followed the implementation of TRIPs and further bilateral or regional treaties. It will also examine the impact of such changes on the local innovation capabilities, through FDIs and related spillovers, as well as the returnee migration of scientists and engineers.


The geographical evolution of cyber-space

The geographical evolution of cyber-space (internet infrastructure, contents, and provision services) is examined in relation to cross-country and cross-regional differences concerning copyright legislation and specific legislation concerning data treatment, stock, and access, as well the issue of net neutrality. Important also is the cross-national development of technology standards that support cyber-space, and controversy over geographic differences in standards development (i.e., industry-consensus versus government-mandate models) and realities related to the impact of new geographies (for instance, Chinese consumers and producers) on the global standards consensus.

The law and economics of geographical indications and traditional knowledge

With the opening up of agricultural markets to international trade through global or regional agreements, geographical indications (GIs) have moved from being a peripheral topic to an increasingly central one. Officials negotiating international treaties and local policy-makers pay increasing attention to their role either as barriers to international harmony or as key instruments for local development policies. Increasingly, GIs are being extended from the traditional domains of food and wine to other fields of arguably traditional knowledge. The Conference will call for advancements of the theoretical framework for evaluating GIs’ local and global impact, as well as systematic data collection and analysis efforts.


While we expect the overarching theme of EPIP 2017 to focus on “Geography and IP,” the organizing committee will nevertheless welcome all main themes in the EPIP research tradition at the conference, and we expect to include panels and discussions on other cutting edge topics.