Intellectual Property Paradoxes in Developing Countries: The Case of Software IP Protection in Iran

Bagheri, Seyed Kamran ; Casprini, Elena


In the context of developing countries, scholars have started to report at least two paradoxical phenomena related to IP protection: (1) weak appropriability regime despite having fairly good IP laws and regulations, and (2) increased demand for IPRs despite weaknesses of IP system. Beyond these paradoxes, prior research still suffers in varying degree from two common flows: (a) it seemed they either considered de jure or de facto IP laws, but not both, and (b) they do not represent all developing countries, being mostly focused on China, and they are mostly non-empirical.

This paper aims at addressing these gaps by exploring both de jure and de facto software IP protection in Iran as a less-researched developing country. We look at de jure software IP protection and, then, empirically investigate the de facto software IP protection in the country. Our results show that despite having multiple legal mechanisms for protecting software innovations, Iranian software IP developers do not consider the protection offered as effective. However, paradoxically, a vast majority of surveyed software innovators had applied for various available IP rights.


Intellectual property paradoxes; developing countries; software; Iran

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