As many of you know much of my recent academic work has focused on questions of military technology and intellectual property protection (a book, Patents for Power, is scheduled to arrive in late summer). Charles Dainoff, Erik Fay, and myself were fortunate enough to recently publish on the subject in Democracy and Security:
Does the United States take into account concerns about intellectual property protection when it transfers arms internationally? This study explores the relationship between intellectual property law and the transfer of military technology. States weigh a number of issues when considering whether to export arms, from security problems, to reputational issues, to regime type. Both domestically and internationally, intellectual property law represents the principal means for states and firms to protect their technology. It stands to reason that states that export arms may take into account the robustness of intellectual property protection (IPP) in states that import arms. We hypothesize that the United States, which has placed a high priority on IPP generally, will be reluctant to export arms to states that place a low priority on IPP. Using arms transfer data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the World Bank’s Intellectual Property Protection ratings, the institutional affiliations of states that import arms (including WTO and TRIPS) and a variety of other variables, this study tests hypotheses concerning IPP and its relationship to international arms sales, finding support for the hypothesis that the United States takes into account a potential importing state’s IPP strength when evaluating arms transfers.
See also an earlier publication on espionage and intellectual property at Global Security and Intelligence Studies.