Inequality through IP: A new policy lever? - International online two day workshop*

Event date
26 - 27 May
Event time
16:00 - 19:00
Oxford week
TT 5
Online via Zoom

Haifa CLT and OIPRC logos

Pre-launching: Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Global Inequality,
D. Benoliel, F. Gurry, K. Lee & P. Yu, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2021)

Co-hosts: The Haifa Centre for Law and Technology and OIPRC, University of Oxford

Each day is from 16:00-19:00 London Time (BST). *Attendance is free of charge.

Full programme
This event is now fully booked. Please email us if you would like to be placed on a waiting list.


via Zoom - the zoom link will be emailed the day before the discussion to those who register.

Please note that there is a change in international time zones owing to Daylight Saving Time (DST) and time zone changes. The Zone-wise time details for the panel are furnished below

Starting at: Geneva, Switzerland (CEST) 17:00 -- New York (EST) 11:00 -- San Francisco, CA (PDT) 08:00 -- Tel Aviv (IST) 18:00 -- Seoul (KST) 00:00 -- Boulder, CO (MDT) 09:00 -- Mexico City (CDMX) 10:00  


Since the mid-1970s, it has been generally accepted that reasonable inequality is the price for a vibrant economy. In recent years, however, critiques have increasingly started to question this proposition. Notable among them is Thomas Piketty, whose Capital in the Twenty-First Century pushed inequality to the forefront of public debate, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT, who identified technology as the primary driver of the recent increases in inequality, especially post-2008.

The mounting evidence that modern capitalism accelerates inequality brings to the fore a set of pressing questions for legal scholars. Primarily, what is the role of law in these dynamics? Moreover, how might changes to our legal order help redress them?  Thus far, UN-level and national policies associated with wealth concentration and inequality were focused on financial deregulation, tax havens, secrecy in financial transactions, lower tax rates on high incomes and investments, and cuts or underinvestment in public services relied on by the majority. As wealth increasingly relies on intangible assets, the one field that remains surprisingly under-explored is intellectual property (IP), both at the national and international levels.

It is incumbent upon scholars and policymakers to investigate how IP laws and related-innovation policies may have contributed to inequality and whether IP policies may contribute toward redressing inequality.

Workshop’s discussion topics:
  • Identifying IP's role in both national and global inequality
  • Patent law, monopoly power, and inequality
  • International IP and distributive justice policies
  • Pharmaceutical (un)availability as a global inequality case study
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals, inequality, and innovation policy
  • Gender inequality, female inventors and entrepreneurs
  • Patented invention rates as indicators of global inequality
  • The relation between income inequality and investment in R&D
  • International IP and the promotion of welfare distribution
  • IP, scalability and winner‐take‐all economic outcomes
  • IP in relation to inequality of outcomes and inequality of opportunities

Day I, Wednesday, May 26th 

[Zoom link to be issued to those who register]

16:00-16:15 Session I: Greetings and opening remarks

Robert Burrell, University of Oxford, OIPRC Centre Director
Daniel Benoliel, University of Haifa Faculty of Law; OIPRC visiting academic 

16:15-17:30 Session II Plenary: How is inequality an IP law problem?

Chair: Ruth L. Okediji, Harvard Law School    

Francis Gurry, 4th Director-General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) (2008-2020) :  Thinking about IP and Inequality
Yochai Benkler, Harvard Law School: Power and Productivity: The Political Economy of Law and Technology in Market Societies

17:30 -17:45 Break
17:45 -19:00 Session III: Is IP policy apt for reducing inequality?  

Chair: Dev Gangjee, University of Oxford, OIPRC

Rochelle C. Dreyfuss, New York University School of Law: Technological Inequality
Amy Kapczynski, Yale Law School: Political Economy, IP, and Inequality
Peter K. Yu, Texas A&M University School of Law: Intellectual Property, Global Inequality and Subnational Policy Variations

Day II, Thursday, May 27th

[Zoom link to be issued to those who register]

16:00-17:45 Session IV: What is the causal relationship between innovation and inequality?

Chair: Keith Maskus, Professor of Economics, University of Colorado Boulder: Intellectual Property Rights and Inequality: Economic Considerations

16:00-16:30 Part A: Keynote speaker
Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz, Columbia Business School 
16:30-17:45 Part B: Panel discussion

Carsten Fink, Chief Economist, WIPO: Factor Income Shares, Geography, and Superstars  
Xiaolan Fu, University of Oxford, Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD): Trade in Intangibles and the New Globalization Conundrum
Keun Lee, Seoul National University, Department of Economics, Republic of Korea: Is IP a Facilitator, or a Barrier Against, Catch-up by Latecomers? Implications for Global Inequality  

17:45-18:00   Break       

18:00-19:30 Session V: Round-Table: Could international IP & Trade reduce Global inequality: Case studies?

Chair:  Frederick M. Abbott, Florida State University College of Law

Frederick M. Abbott, Florida State University College of Law: Overview – IP, Trade, Economic Recovery and Sustainabilty – addressing the challenge of global inequality
Jerome H. Reichman, Duke University School of Law
Colleen V. Chien, Santa Clara University School of Law: The Inequalities of Innovation
Alenka Guzmán Chávez , Iztapalapa Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico: IP and Gender Inequality
Thomas Cottier, University of Bern, World Trade Institute: Transfer of Technology, IP and Equity in the Context of Reducing Global Inequality



Found within

Intellectual Property Law