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Regulatory Autonomy in International Economic Law

The Evolution of Australian Policy on Trade and Investment

Andrew D. Mitchell, Elizabeth Sheargold and Tania Voon

Regulatory Autonomy in International Economic Law provides the first extensive legal analysis of Australia’s trade and investment treaties in the context of their impact on national regulatory autonomy. This thought-provoking study offers compelling lessons for not only Australia but also countries around the globe in relation to pressing current problems, including the uncertain future of the World Trade Organization and widespread concerns about the legitimacy of investor–State dispute settlement.
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Chapter 2: Intellectual Property: Increasing Protections under US Influence

The Evolution of Australian Policy on Trade and Investment

Andrew D. Mitchell, Elizabeth Sheargold and Tania Voon

Extract

Intellectual property chapters of preferential trade agreements stipulate minimum levels of protection, including criteria for the subject matter of protections, as well as the nature of the rights granted. As these agreements set a ‘floor’ or baseline for protection, they provide limited flexibility for governments and could potentially undermine any regulation that affects the registration or use of intellectual property rights. This chapter explains how Australia’s preferential trade agreements, particularly the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement and others modelled on it, have increased the required protections for intellectual property beyond those mandated by the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property. The chapter addresses copyright, trademarks and patents, as well as highlighting trademark-related tobacco disputes in the context of international trade law and international investment law. The chapter cautions against further increases in intellectual property protections under international economic treaties and reflects on reform possibilities. Keywords: copyright, intellectual property, international trade law, patent, trademark, TRIPS

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