TRIPS and Developing Countries

TRIPS and Developing Countries

Towards a New IP World Order?

Edited by Gustavo Ghidini, Rudolph J.R. Peritz and Marco Ricolfi

TRIPS reflects the dominant view that enforcing strong intellectual property rights is necessary to solve problems of trade and development. The global ensemble of authors in this collection ask, how can TRIPS mature further into an institution that supports a view of economic development which incorporates the human rights ethic already at work in the multilateralist geopolitics driving international relations? In particular, how can these human rights, seen as encompassing a whole ‘new’ set of collective interests such as public health, environment, and nutrition, provide a pragmatic ethic for shaping development policy? Some chapters address these questions by describing recent successes, while others propose projects in which these human rights can provide ethical ground for influencing the forces at play in development policies.

Chapter 5: On TRIPS' impact on 'least developed countries': The effects of a 'double standards' approach

Gustavo Ghidini

Subjects: development studies, law and development, law - academic, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, law and development


It is undisputed evidence that the dynamics of trans-national economic integration have altered the traditional dialectic 'Developed vs. Developing' countries. The qualification itself of countries as 'developing' is under continuous revision in the face of the growth of emerging economies like Brazil, Russia, India, China and others. Accordingly, even the debates on IPRs-related issues must be re-oriented in the light of the new balances of power, first of all to reckon with the prospective decline of 'unilateralism' in international relations, so far largely framed by a traditionally dominant (and even diplomatically boosted) 'Washington consensus'. (As Graham Dutfield has asked, "Will the United States government be so pro-patent when the proportion of domestic patents granted to Indian and Chinese inventors increases dramatically?") However, the hypothesis that the progress of international economic integration might per se ensure a general 'rebalancing' of the traditionally dominant IP law patterns, is far from settled, in particular as concerns the least developed countries (art. 66 TRIPs; henceforth: LDCs), which constitute today's real frontier of the geopolitical trade competition issue that has historically divided the 'two worlds' emerging from the colonial era. On one hand the 'double speed' of the dynamics of exit from underdevelopment is all too evident.

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