Socially Responsible Corporate IP
Many companies practice corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of their branding and public relations efforts. As part of their CSR strategies, some companies adopt voluntary codes of conduct in an effort to respect human rights. This Article contemplates the application of CSR principles to trade-related intellectual property (IP). In theory, patent and copyright laws promote progress and innovation, which is why IP rights are beneficial for both IP owners and for the public. Trademark rights encourage businesses to maintain certain standards and allow consumers to make more efficient choices. Though IP rights are often discussed in relation to the value they provide for business purposes, trade-related IP can also promote human progress, including as it relates to health, education and culture. A CSR model for international intellectual property offers an additional strategy to support ongoing efforts to make IP-related trade agreements more sensitive to human needs.