Colonial Origins of Intellectual Property Regimes in African States

Authored by: Ikechi Mgbeoji

Routledge Handbook of International Law

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415418768
eBook ISBN: 9780203884621
Adobe ISBN: 9781134113095


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This chapter analyzes the colonial roots of intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes in African states and argues that the inability of contemporary African states to internalize some of the key doctrines of IPR regimes can be linked to the underlying differences between African worldviews and the Eurocentric philosophies underpinning IPR regimes. Using the general concepts of patent law as the analytical framework, it argues that unreconstructed Eurocentric IPR in Africa may be blamed for the perverse phenomenon wherein legal provisions in the statute books have failed to translate to compliance with IPR in many African states. It contends, in summation, that colonial rivalries between decolonized African states are responsible for the institutional fissures and balkanization of continental regulation of IPR in Africa.

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