Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


A. S. Oddi

First Page



This Article discusses the current predominance of natural rights theory in the area of intellectual property and of patents in particular. Due to the alleged problems of international theft and pirating of patents, the recent GATT negotiations saw intellectual property law come to center stage in the debate over trade. These negotiations concluded that trade-related aspects of intellectual property law can no longer be left to the public policy of individual countries, but require new international minimum standards.

The author discusses how the basic principles of natural rights theory have been used to convince the world community to move toward a universal world standard of Intellectual property law. By using the concept of natural rights, all countries must thus recognize the natural property rights entitlement of the inventor. Thus, copying an invention is considered "immoral" by the community of nations and the rights of the inventor must be protected by positive law. However, the author notes that developing countries may not be as eager as developed nations to accept a natural rights premise.