From a paper by some economists, titled "The Case Against Patents":
Current international trade negotiations that affect patents often occur as part of either the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which was signed in 1995 as part of the World Trade Organization negotiations, or as part of the World Intellectual Property Organization, an agency of the United Nations. The nature of these agreements and organizations is well indicated by the use of the propaganda term “intellectual property” in their titles. In both cases, these talks are often focused on how to prevent ideas from high-income countries from being used in low-income countries—what we would characterize as essentially a neo-mercantilist approach toward free trade in goods and ideas. We should be highly cautious about this agenda. Within a couple of decades, the “balance of trade in ideas” between the US and European economies and emerging economies in Asia might easily equalize or reverse. Engaging in “mercantilism of ideas” may seem favorable to certain large US firms now, but such rules may become costly to the US economy if they are applied to protect patents held in the future by producers in the now-developing Asian economies.
Will we some day see Asian countries pushing for stronger IP protections, and the US and EU resisting? I'm going to make a note to check back on this in about 20 years, and if I'm still blogging I'll do an update on this post.