Canada.com: This is an excellent article on the problems developing countries face in utilising and developing intellectual property, and why the developed world's insistence on stronger administration and enforcement of IP laws will be harmful unless the first world gives something in return. The article centres around discussions hosted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with a key element being the creation of an Access to Knowledge Treaty.
Some pertinent excerpts: The United States stands at one end of the spectrum with its vision of an intellectual property development program premised on "technical assistance" including the creation of stronger intellectual property administration and enforcement. Ignoring the fact that most developed countries were slow to adopt strong IP protection during their developmental phase, it disputes the notion that intellectual property rules have become one-sided. Instead, it maintains that stronger IP laws will lead to developmental benefits for all countries, regardless of their economic status.
India noted the developing world's need for access to knowledge, commenting that "neither intellectual property protection, nor the harmonization of intellectual property laws leading to higher protection standards in all countries irrespective of their level of development, can be an end in itself. For developing countries to benefit from providing IP protection to rights holders based in developed countries, there has to be some obligation on the part of developed countries to transfer and disseminate technologies to developing countries."
This is an incredibly important issue. Developing countries need to respect intellectual property, since without respecting IP they will not develope IP...which is obviously bad news in the 21st century. However, the developed world already has a huge head start, and many practices are inhibiting developing in their bid to create their own intellectual property. Worse, the tight restrictions on some patents (such as medical patents) have a severely detrimental effect on the health and well-being of people in the third world.
The Star Online reported on efforts by the Malaysian government to improve IP development and protection..."it is an unfortunate fact that whilst many IP creators (are good at coming up with) ideas, works and products of great economic potential, they (sometimes) fail to realise or exploit the commercial potential of their own inventiveness."
--GPL As Economic Imperialism