Achievements and New Perspectives
European Intellectual Property Institutes Network series
Edited by Christophe Geiger
Chapter 20: Checks and balances in the intellectual property enforcement field: reconstructing EU trade agreements
The recent emphasis on the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) has given place to a third generation of issues and debates in the IPR international policy-making area since the entry into force of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In effect, right after the TRIPS was adopted, most of the research and policy proposals focused on its impact on public goods and social interests. The implications of the TRIPS were so broad that, even today, analysis of the TRIPS in search of policy space to protect the public interest continues to be fruitful. Later on, in the first years of the twenty-first century, a related but distinct debate re-emerged, this one focusing on relationships between IPR, innovation and the public interest. While some sustain the validity of the present IPR system to deliver meaningful innovation, others claim that the costs of the system go beyond its current benefits, which only arise when there is a market-based interest. More recently, intellectual property enforcement has been placed at the forefront of the international activity in the IPR field, in sharp contrast with the traditional autonomy left to national jurisdictions in this regard. Promoters of new enforcement undertakings assume that the enforcement of IPR is a neutral endeavour limited to implementing what has already been agreed upon. Others, however, question the priority character put on the enforcement of IPR; claim that enforcement is not addressed in a balanced manner; and sustain that enforcement, as presently promoted, impacts the substantive breadth of IPR.
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