This chapter first argues that catch‐up is a complex process and that developing countries rely on diverse means to acquire technologies from advanced countries and build their own capabilities. Then, after briefly describing the history of the patent and other intellectual property right (IPR) system and the TRIPS agreement, the chapter surveys past studies on the role of IPR, particularly in relation to technology transfer. It is emphasized, however, that to understand the role of IPR in catch‐up an in‐depth analysis of individual countries is essential. The chapter then gives a brief account of the long‐term economic growth record of ten countries and one region (Nordic) that are discussed in this book and summarizes briefly each of the following chapters.
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