Interpreting and Implementing the TRIPS Agreement

Interpreting and Implementing the TRIPS Agreement

Is it Fair?

Edited by Justin Malbon and Charles Lawson

This book considers whether the WTO agreement on ‘Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights’ (TRIPS) will become a vehicle for promoting greater international equity and engagement with the world economy or a tool for wealthy nations to extract excessive rents from poorer countries. Can TRIPS garner the necessary degree of legitimacy and public trust to deliver economic development? Can it become a key instrument for promoting international health and development? In response to these questions, the book proposes interpretive possibilities for the TRIPS’ text along with implementation strategies to avoid the threat of its irrelevancy due, amongst other things, to free trade agreements containing TRIPS-plus terms.

Introduction

Edited by Justin Malbon and Charles Lawson

Subjects: development studies, development economics, law and development, economics and finance, development economics, law - academic, intellectual property law, law and development

Extract

The European Patent Office recently released its report Scenarios for the Future addressing how intellectual property regimes might evolve by 2025 (European Patent Office 2007). While there seems little doubt that intellectual property is now entrenched as a policy instrument intended to promote creativity, invention and innovations that contribute to economic development, the form and content of how this should be attained remains contested. This edited collection enjoins the global intellectual property debate by offering a range of perspectives about how the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is and should be interpreted and implemented. Like the Scenarios for the Future report, the collection takes a broader view of TRIPS’ interpretation, recognising that to attain legitimacy and public trust and support TRIPS implementation must accommodate a broad spectrum of views and deliver real and meaningful economic developments to a wider global community. According to the European Patent Office Report, the patent system must accommodate multiple players and stakeholders from different cultures and ‘with different worldviews and aspirations who are working towards different goals within a global environment’ (European Patent Office 2007, p. 11). The challenge, the Report notes, is to find ways of meeting the specific developmental requirements of disparate nations at a global level, ‘because a system that blocks the access of poor people to essential drugs or food will eventually lose its credibility’ (European Patent Office 2007, p. 11). The Report also...