- This paper develops a product cycle model with endogenous innovation, imitation, and foreign direct investment (FDI). We use this model to determine how stronger intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in the South affects innovation, imitation and FDI. We find that stronger IPR protection keeps multinationals safer from imitation, but no more so than Northern firms. Instead, the increased difficulty of imitation generates resource wasting and imitation disincentive effects that reduce both FDI and innovation. The greater resources absorbed in imitation crowd out FDI. Reduced FDI then transmits resource scarcity in the South back to the North and consequently contracts innovation. 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.