Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights

Keith E. Maskus

in The Oxford Handbook on The World Trade Organization

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199586103
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights

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The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which was adopted as Annex 1C of the single undertaking establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, is the most important international accord on intellectual property rights for three reasons. First, it is easily the most comprehensive agreement ever reached regarding government standards and actions in the realm of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, and geographical indications. Second, TRIPS extends minimum protection norms to a truly global scale, and third, being subject to the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism (DSM), it is the only multilateral accord on IPRs that can be enforced through legal action and trade sanctions. This article examines TRIPS, the flexibilities allowed by the agreement, and its application under the DSM through a discussion of landmark cases. It brings out the different political interests and processes that underpin the agreement, and how they contribute to current controversies and negotiations in the Doha Development Agenda.

Keywords: Intellectual Property Rights; World Trade Organization; intellectual property rights; dispute settlement mechanism; Doha Development Agenda; patents; trademarks; geographical indications

Article.  10643 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Political Economy

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