Chapter 7: Enforcement of intellectual property rights
For intellectual property rights to be effective, they need to be enforced. Remedies must be quickly and cheaply available. The environment is no longer simply a national one. The economic value of protected products is enormous. Piracy and counterfeiting is a major trade, with many operations highly organised and professional. With global trading, any deficiencies in enforcement methods are highlighted and exploited. In some countries, piracy has been rampant and even condoned at government level. The scale of unauthorised use of intellectual property (IP) is therefore very considerable, and appropriate methods are needed to combat this. Before the TRIPS Agreement, international IP rules were to be found largely in WIPO Treaties, such as the Paris and Berne Conventions. Although these had (and have) considerable merits as harmonising instruments, they were well-understood to have significant shortcomings with regard to the enforcement of rights. Detailed rules providing for the enforcement of rights in national courts simply did not exist. Nor was there any mechanism for establishing that states were in breach of their obligations, or for resolving disputes at state level. This was the background to the Uruguay Round of GATT. Although the inclusion of IP in the negotiating mandate was a significant step forward, very considerable challenges still remained to be overcome. The text was signed at Marrakech in 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1995. It is probably the most significant achievement in international IP law of the twentieth century. The EU has been a member from the outset.
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