Tuesday, February 5, 2013

IP and Military Diffusion

In this week's Diplomat column I return to a topic of interest, intellectual property and military diffusion:

  1. The nature of intellectual property theft in the military sphere will change. Rather than purchasing (or otherwise appropriating) entire systems and then reverse engineering, future theft will likely involve cyber-attacks on states, companies, and even the law firms that protect patents. 
  2.  While states such as India, China, and Russia have had strong incentives to defect from intellectual property compliance in the past, their status as producers and exporters will increasingly make them IP defenders, in general. In specific instances, however, they will continue to pursue the appropriation of critical foreign technologies, often through illicit means.
  3.  There is potential for cooperation between the major arms producers on an international IP compliance regime, which would set guidelines or “rules of the road” for export. However, continuing political and strategic disagreement between these producers will limit the overall impact of such a regime.
I'll be coming back to this issue, particularly on questions of how intellectual property law will affect patterns of military technology diffusion. Until then, interested in everyone's thoughts on the topic.

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