Is Patent Protection an Incentive for Innovation? Literature and Case Study of the Tunisian Pharmaceutical Industry
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The end of the twentieth century has shown profound economic changes, marked by a significant acceleration of technical progress. In this new economic context, increasing the “innovation” rate has become a main component of national economic policies to guarantee the survival of both, firms and countries. This explains the emergence, at the end of the 1980s, of the concept of “National Innovation Systems (NIS)”. In addition, strengthening patent rights seems to be particularly connected to innovation since patents are considered as the most convenient tools to protect intellectual property. Nevertheless, the recent wave of establishing and enhancing patent protection worldwide lifts many controversies between developed and developing countries, especially about the impacts of intellectual property rights on innovation. This paper aims at putting the light on these controversies and studying whether patent enforcement is an incentive for innovation. The paper is divided into two main parts. First, we are going to skim through the theoretical and empirical studies that link innovation to patent rights. Second, we will focus the analysis on the evaluation of the role played by patent protection in encouraging pharmaceutical innovation in Tunisia.