This paper aims to contribute to frame the IP for development debate into a more extensive discussion on appropriability, within the perspective of policies shaping scientific, technological and production capabilities in the light of development theory. Through the lenses of the paradigm based theory of innovation, the authors first recognize that technological asymmetries and gaps between firms and countries appear more as sticky features than as transitory stages of (automatic) adjustment processes, thus reassessing the appropriability ad disclosure function of patents. Then, the paper presents a taxonomy of contemporary markets for knowledge, flagging the existence of what we call derivative markets for knowledge. Patents become to a certain extent liquid because they loose the weight and the density of the technological component and they can easily circulate in the market without having necessarily to be entangled in any final artifact. Just as in derivative financial markets, the value of patents is a function of expectations regarding their uncertain potential future value. The paper concludes sketching the implications for development focusing on two major issues: i) how reassessing the role of IP through an evolutionary perspective affects behavioral microfoundations of innovative conducts and ii) how asymmetries in technological and production capacities between countries mould patenting behavior and participation and exclusion in the contemporary markets for knowledge.
intellectual property rights patents appropriability markets for knowledge developing countries