Intellectual Property in the WTO Volume I
Research Handbooks on the WTO series
Edited by Carlos M. Correa
Chapter 9: Intellectual Property Rights in Free Trade Agreements: Moving Beyond TRIPS Minimum Standards
Pedro Roffe, Christoph Spennemann and Johanna von Braun Introduction Regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs)1 and their relationship with the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Traderelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) are the main focus of this chapter. In exploring these matters we examine, first, how the latter Agreement marks the starting point of a major shift with respect to the pre-existing intellectual property (IP) landscape by both breaking with the traditional evolution of the international system and by opening the way to new and expansive developments in the international protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs). The chapter then analyses the main features of FTAs negotiated after the conclusion of the TRIPS Agreement and their implications for developing countries. Particular attention is paid throughout the chapter to a number of public interest-related policy matters, where the FTAs increase and expand the minimum standards of protection and enforcement established under TRIPS, with particular attention to issues such as public health, the protection of life forms and of traditional knowledge, access to knowledge in general and to the new obligations on enforcement and dispute settlement. The final section draws some overall conclusions around these recent developments and their implications. We begin with an examination of the main features of the TRIPS Agreement and of the policy space afforded to countries with respect to its implementation.2 1 Free trade initiatives adopt different names. For simplicity we encompass all these arrangements under the broad label of ‘FTAs’....
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