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Welcome to
Global Intellectual Property and Technology Centre (G-IPTech)

Innovation Economics

Our research area, Innovation Economics, focuses on the economics of intellectual property (IP) and its impact on economic growth and technological advancement. We strive to understand the legal framework and policies governing patents, as well as broader issues related to innovation policy. Our research spans theoretical and empirical investigations across a wide range of topics within our research strengths. Key areas of interest in our research include:

(1) Studying the economics of innovation, including the deontological theories and justifications of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), such as natural rights-based justifications (eg Lockean theory/Hegel personality theory) and utilitarian incentives-based theories.

(3) Exploring the social function of IPRs and the intellectual property paradox, with emphasis on access to creativity, innovation and knowledge to foster progress, social value, and democratization.

(2) Investigating the economics of IPRs and their role in protecting against market failures. This involves studying concepts such as marginal cost of production, dead-weight loss, and rent seeking. We also focus on international technology transfer and the commercialization of intellectual property, including intellectual property due diligence and valuation.

(3) Exploring commons-based theories, inspired by Elinor Ostrom, as an alternative to Demsetzian propertization. This includes models like gift economy (e.g., free software, online user-based creativity) and community-based/communal IP. We pay particular attention to geographical indications, traditional knowledge, expressions of folklore, and genetic resources.

(4) Exploring the role of patents in incentivizing innovation, the relationship between patent protection and the public interest, and the policy implications of these issues. We also consider challenges arising from the increasing complexity and global nature of the innovation process. Additionally, we investigate the potential for patent reform to support the growth of creative industries and the role of government in promoting innovation.

(5) Investigating the impact of disruptive technologies on the patent system, such as artificial intelligence and the growing importance of software and data in the innovation process.

(6) Assessing the effects of IP rights on economic progress and the tension between the leverage power of right holders in holding out innovation. Throughout history, the struggle between innovators and right holders has shaped the scope of monopolies. We examine whether innovations that utilize IP-protected content should fall under that monopoly.

Our research aims to provide expertise and insights to policymakers and industry partners with an eye also at contributing to the goals of the Belfast Region City Deal and economic growth in the region.


Dr Jocelyn Bosse

Prof Giancarlo Frosio

Dr Alessandra Guida

Dr Eugene Lim

Dr Pratyush Upreti


Alessandra Guida, Biosafety Measures, Technology Risks and the World Trade Organization - Thriving and Surviving in the Age of Biotech (Routledge 2023)

P N Upreti, Intellectual Property Objectives in International Investment Agreements (Edward Elgar 2022).

G Frosio, 'A Brief History of Remix: From Caves to Networks' in E Navas, O Gallagher and X Burrough (eds.), The Handbook of Remix Studies and Digital Humanities 19-35 (Routledge 2021).

P N Upreti, 'The Role of National and International Intellectual Property Law and Policy in Reconceptualising the Definition of Investment' (2021) 52 IIC International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law 103-136.

G Frosio, 'Sharing or Platform Urban Mobility? Propertization from Mass to MaaS' in Michèle Finck, Matthias Lamping, Valentina Moscon, Heiko Richter (eds), Smart Urban Mobility: Law, Regulation, and Policy 163-189 (MPI Studies on Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Springer 2020).

I Turkmendag, M Fox, C Thompson, and T Murphy, 'What's Law Got to do With Good Science?: A Debate and Dialogue' (2019) 28 Social and Legal Studies 392-413.

G Frosio, Reconciling Copyright with Cumulative Creativity: The Third Paradigm (Edward Elgar 2018).

Eugene C Lim, 'Opening the 'Pandora's Box' of Patent Claim Construction: Purposive Interpretation, Central Claiming and the Doctrine of Equivalents in Comparative Perspective' (2016) 16 Asper Review of International Business and Trade Law 155.

P N Upreti, 'Enforcing IPRs Through Investor-State Dispute Settlement: A Paradigm Shift in Global IP Practice' (2016) 19 Journal of World Intellectual Property 53-82.

G Frosio, Open Access Publishing: A Literature Review 1-219 (study prepared for the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy) (2014).

G Frosio, 'COMMUNIA and the European Public Domain Project: A Politics of the Public Domain' in J C De Martin and M Dulong de Rosnay (eds), The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture (Open Book Publishers 2012) 3-44.

Eugene C Lim, 'On the Compliance Pull of Intellectual Property Norms: Finnis, Practical Reasonableness and the Challenge of Social Internalization' (2012) 31 Windsor Review of Legal and Social Issues 1.

G Frosio, Communia Final Report on the Digital Public Domain 1-194 (report prepared for the European Commission on behalf of the COMMUNIA Network and the NEXA Center) (2011).

Eugene C Lim, 'Dilution, the Section 22 Debacle, and the Protection of Business Goodwill in Canada: Some Insights from U.S. Trademark Law and Policy' (2011) 101 Trademark Reporter 1232.

G Frosio, 'User Patronage: the Return of the Gift in the “Crowd Society”' (2015) 2015(5) Mich St L Rev 1983-2046.

G Frosio, 'A History of Aesthetics from Homer to Digital Mash-ups: Cumulative Creativity and the Demise of Copyright Exclusivity' (2015) 9(2) Law and Humanities 262-296.

G Frosio, 'Rediscovering Cumulative Creativity from the Oral-Formulaic Tradition to Digital Remix: Can I Get a Witness?' (2014) 13(2) J Marshall Rev Intell Prop L 341-395.

G Frosio, 'Urban Guerrilla & Piracy Surveillance: Accidental Casualties in Fighting Piracy in P2P Networks in Europe' (2011) 37 Rutgers Comp. & Tech L. J. 1-57.