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Although geography—and the need to establish new and distant markets—has influenced the development of international intellectual property law and policy from the very beginning, 1 the linkage between intellectual property and geography has not received much attention from policy makers and academic commentators. Nevertheless, geographically related issues abound in today’ s intellectual property field. These issues include the protection of geographical indications, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions; the discussions on intellectual property and climate change; the development of high-technology innovation clusters; the negotiation of regional trade agreements; the challenges posed by cloud-based platforms and transnational distribution; the use of geolocation tools and the mining of data involved in Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation.

As an introduction to this special issue, this article will outline three sets of mismatches that demonstrate the vitality, utility and richness of analysing intellectual property developments through a geographical lens. The article begins by examining economic geography, focusing on the tensions and conflicts between territorial borders and sub-national innovation. It then examines the oft-found mismatch between political geography and cultural geography. Illustrating this mismatch is the challenge of protecting traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. This article concludes by exploring the growing mismatch between legal geography and human geography. It discusses issues ranging from the region codes deployed to protect DVDs to the increasing consumer demand for cross-border portability of media content.

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