Trade Liberalisation and International Co-operation

Trade Liberalisation and International Co-operation

A Legal Analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Edited by Tania Voon

This book provides a detailed analysis of major legal and public policy issues arising from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – a treaty that will dramatically change the landscape of international trade, with effects that will be felt on a global scale.

Chapter 4: The TPP as a case study of changing dynamics for international intellectual property negotiations

Kimberlee Weatherall

Subjects: law - academic, competition and antitrust law, international economic law, trade law, law and economics, public international law


It is not surprising that the intellectual property (IP) chapter has proven to be one of the most contentious in the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Observers of international IP law could have predicted that the chapter would involve sticking points requiring high-level political resolution towards the end of the discussions. IP negotiations are controversial in the second decade of the twenty-first century. This is true whether they occur in bilateral trade negotiations, at a multilateral level in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or World Trade Organization (WTO), or in that shadowy and variegated world in between: the plurilateral or regional agreement. There are however some aspects of the negotiation dynamics for the TPP that are different from what has gone before. Its regional aspirations, a new hostility in the public policy environment for international IP lawmaking, and the increased fragmentation of the international IP legal environment all cast shadows over these negotiations and will colour both the eventual outcomes and the implications of any resulting text. This chapter explores how the negotiating environment for the IP chapter in the TPP differs from past IP negotiations, what this could mean for the likely outcomes, and the implications for the impact of the IP chapter that emerges at the other end. The period since the 1990s has seen the rapid development of IP as a core subject in trade negotiations.

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