Is it Fair?
Edited by Justin Malbon and Charles Lawson
Chapter 5: Intellectual Property Protection after TRIPS: An Asian Experience
Jakkrit Kuanpoth 1. INTRODUCTION Intellectual property (IP) was until recently the domain of specialists and producers of IP rights. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) concluded during the Uruguay Round negotiations in 1994, signalled a major shift in this regard. The incorporation of IP rights into the multilateral trading system has elicited great concern over its pervasive role in people’s lives and in society in general. TRIPS is a comprehensive agreement containing new multilateral rules and disciplines with relatively high standards of IP protection. Developing countries that are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have fewer policy options for protecting IP rights, and are enjoying less ﬂexibility than that enjoyed by developed countries in using IP rights to support their national development. However, TRIPS is not the end of the story. Signiﬁcant new developments are currently taking place at the regional and bilateral level that build on and strengthen the IP standards through the progressive harmonisation of technologically advanced countries. Developing countries face the challenge of constraint optimisation on ways of implementing the TRIPS Agreement that minimise socioeconomic costs and maximise national beneﬁts. The developing states are now facing increased pressure towards higher standards of IP protection (such as the so-called TRIPS-plus). The attempts of the developed countries to evolve the TRIPS-plus regime, which appears in the form of free trade agreement (FTA), provide opportunities for those countries to negotiate rules and commitments that go beyond what was not possible on the multilateral...
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