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What is behind the changing attitudes towards intellectual property in India and China? This exploration of empirically-based research comparisons on the character of intellectual property systems found in these two countries, offers answers to three key questions: what are the drivers that have moved them towards a closer embrace of IP norms, how have domestic and systemic influences shaped the character of this embrace, and how have state and non-state actors interacted within the international system to promote this transformation? Focusing on the software and IT services industries, it illuminates the policy drivers that have influenced IP regime adoption, and helps our understanding the process by providing a clear framework of distinctive phases of technological, political and social development.