Vitor Ido’s presentation ‘Modernity and Nation Building: The politics of patents “with Chinese characteristics”’ offered a rich analysis of the entanglements between patents, nationalisms and intellectual property politics of the Chinese government and legal institutions, both domestically and internationally.
The analysis pointed to the need to disaggregate a monolithic understanding of the Chinese state by focusing on specific bureaucratic practices and policies that reveal an ambiguous relationship between patents and practices of nation building and reveal patents as “spectres of modernity”. Ido traced patents’ mobilisation and adaptation for Chinese domestic patenting policies, international diplomacy and industrial development. Whilst China is invested in the international patent legal order as its biggest user and performs its commitment both domestically and internationally, the analysis pointed to the differential value of capital afforded to Chinese patents because they are presumed to be of lower quality and hence are afforded a different degree of credibility. International legal rules materialise in uneven ways, as the question of what a patent is worth is influenced by economic and political nationalisms.
The ensuing discussion explored diverse adjacent issues, such as sources of nation-building with patents; historical parallels to Switzerland’s introduction of patent law; the suitability or non-applicability of historical comparisons for analysing nation building practices and IP strategies; the use of structural analysis for identifying different manifestations of patent cosmology; the question of temporality assumed in patents in relation to imaginaries of modernism and techno-futurism; and the role of translation (incl. AI automated software) in patent information dissemination and administration.
Vitor Ido works at the South Centre Geneva: www.southcentre.int He holds a PhD in Law from Universidade de São Paulo.
Video by LiU communications officer Per Wistbo Nibell. Text by Hyo Yoon Kang who also chaired the event.