This chapter presents an introduction to issues related to intellectual property. The battle over intellectual property has risen to the forefront of contemporary international contests in which developed and developing nations often find themselves in opposing camps. The chapter reveals that as developed nations moved into high-technology industries and services in the last few decades of the twentieth century, they came to rely on knowledge as the central component of their economies. The movement of manufacturing to the developing world has rendered intellectual capital the most important asset of developed nations. Developing nations, on the other hand, resist Western standards of intellectual property, charging that they are economically self-serving and that the developed world, led by the United States, applies these standards in an inconsistent manner. The chapter also discusses the concept of United States champions' worldwide originality and innovation as objective criteria that establish a claim on intellectual property.
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