Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series
Edited by Theodore Eisenberg and Giovanni B. Ramello
Chapter 12: The comparative economics of international intellectual property agreements
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), which entered into force on January 1, 1995, remains the most comprehensive intellectual property agreement ever adopted by the international community. Building on two century-old cornerstone agreements – the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Paris Convention) and the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Berne Convention) – the TRIPS Agreement provides minimum protection of intellectual property rights in a wide variety of areas. The Agreement also strengthens intellectual property enforcement while requiring countries to abide by the mandatory dispute settlement process of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement, developed countries have sought to raise the international standards of intellectual property protection and enforcement by establishing bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade, investment and intellectual property agreements. Particularly controversial are recent efforts to negotiate the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. Although the latter is not an intellectual property agreement per se, both ACTA and the draft TPP Agreement include ‘TRIPS-plus’ intellectual property standards – standards that are in excess of the TRIPS requirements.
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