European Governance and the Role of Ideas: Intellectual Property Lawmaking in the European Union

Author: Benjamin Farrand (University of Strathclyde/University of Warwick)

The European Union has been the forum for a number of ostensibly surprising developments in the field of intellectual property protection; the rejection of the ACTA by the European Parliament and subsequent Commission negotiations with the US for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, and the use of the enhanced cooperation procedure to establish an EU ‘unitary patent’ being two prominent examples.

Working within the theoretical frame of European governance, we can better understand the processes by which these legislative initiatives are formed, negotiated and concluded. In particular it is useful to analyse the role of ideas in promoting certain path dependencies and institutional discourses and how they work to influence the way in which the European institutions understand, frame and communicate policies.

In particular, through evaluation of ‘frame’ and ‘narrative’, this presentation will demonstrate how the ideational frame of the ‘economic crisis in the European Union’ has resulted in the construction of a narrative in which the creative and industrial sectors are perceived as being one of the key ways to facilitate the ‘growth and jobs’ agenda – with this strategy forming both the desired outcome of legislative development, as well as the discursive frame for evidence and information gathering.

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