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The WIPO Journal




As an introduction to a special issue on intellectual property philosophy, this article focuses on insights from Asian thought. Such a focus is needed not only to provide balance within this special issue, which includes articles focusing primarily on Western philosophy, but also to highlight the compatibility between Asian philosophy and the notion of intellectual property rights. More importantly, this article aims to demonstrate that Asian philosophy may suggest new ways to address the ongoing and highly complex intellectual property challenges confronting emerging economies and the digital environment.

This article begins by providing a brief discussion of the many different schools of Asian philosophy, including those in China and India. Although Confucianism has garnered considerable attention in intellectual property literature, the nexus between Asian philosophy and the notion of intellectual property rights remains largely understudies. Thus, instead of revisiting the debate on intellectual property and Confucianism, this article aims to introduce to the Western audience Yin-Yang, one of the six dominant ancient schools of Chinese philosophy. It argues that this school's focus on contexts, relationships and adaptiveness and its high tolerance for contradictions have made it particularly well-equipped to address the ongoing intellectual property challenges concerning both emerging economies and the digital environment.

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World Intellectual Property Organization & Thomson Reuters



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