The Legal Framework for the Transfer of Technology in Ethiopian

Yohannes Hailu Tessema


Contemporary Scholars assert that one of the factors of economic growth, in addition to the three classical factors, i.e. land, labour and capital, is technology.[1] Accordingly, in countries which aspire to bring about rapid economic growth, access to new technologies is integrally linked to long-standing development priorities.[2] New technologies may be accessed through either invention or its transfer, or both. Nonetheless, so far, accessing new technology through acquisition doesn’t seem a feasible option for least developed countries (LDCs) as they lack the required research and development budgets and infrastructures to generate and acquire inventions. In fact, recent empirical data reveals that most of the world’s patent right holders of new technologies are nationals of developed countries.  This implies that invention processes continue to remain the provinces of these countries in the global world.[3] Hence, for LDCs, the remaining option of accessing new technologies is TOT. This implies that is a last resort as long as these countries insist in their desire to bring about and foster economic growth. oreign experiences indicate that the major means of technology transfer are technology transfer agreements, management agreements, patent licensing (both voluntary and  compulsory), know- how supply agreements and foreign direct Investment (FDI).[4] In order to determine whether a country put in place adequate and suitable legal and institutional framework for the transfer of technology, one has to closely scrutinize the country’s laws that regulate, inter alia,   technology transfer agreements,  patent rights, investment and capital goods leasing. This writer intends to address the issue whether the existing Ethiopian patent, investment and capital goods leasing laws are adequate enough and capable of ensuring technology transfer to Ethiopia.

[1] Chantal Thomas, Transfer of Technology in the Contemporary International Order, 22 FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL. 2096, 2096 (1998)

[2] Keith E. Maskus & Ruth L. Okediji, Intellectual Property Rights and International Technology Transfer to Address Climate Change: Risks, Opportunities and Policy Options, 32 ICTSD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SERIES. 3, (2010).

[3] Bernard M. Hoekman, Keith E. Maskus   & Kamal Saggi, Transfer of Technology to Developing Countries: Unilateral and Multilateral Policy Options (Working Paper, 2004), available at .

[4] David M. Haug, The International Transfer of Technology: Lessons that East Europe can Learn from the Failed Third World Experience, 5 HARVARD JOURNAL OF LAW & TECHNOLOGY. 209, 213- 217, (1992).

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