The International Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights
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The International Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights

Meir Perez Pugatch

This book investigates the realm of intellectual property rights (IPRs) within the context of international political economy. In particular, it examines the extent to which powerful interest groups, such as pharmaceutical multinational companies, influence the political dynamism underlying the field of IPRs. Meir Perez Pugatch argues that a pure economic approach does not provide a sufficient or satisfactory explanation for the creation of intellectual property rights, most notably patents. The author instead suggests that a dynamic approach, based on the international political economy of interest groups and systemic outcomes, provides a better starting point for explaining how the international intellectual property agenda is determined.
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Chapter 6: TRIPs and Pharmaceuticals

Meir Perez Pugatch


6.1 INTRODUCTION The interaction process through which the advanced pharmaceutical industry in Europe, as well as in the US, strives to secure its interests as regards to the international IP system is ultimately linked to the WTO agreement on Traderelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).1 Signed in Marrakesh (15 April 1994) as Annex 1C to the Final Act establishing the WTO, the TRIPs agreement came into effect in January 1995. It was one of the most innovative and important subjects to be included in the multilateral negotiations of the Uruguay Round. With respect to IPRs specifically, the TRIPs agreement represents a significant increase in the global level of IP protection. Some scholars, such as Reichman, consider TRIPs to be a ʻrevolution in international intellectual property lawʼ.2 The primary task of this chapter is to analyse the TRIPs agreement as a whole and to assess its specific impact on the international pharmaceutical IP agenda. This analysis and assessment are necessary steps to understanding the interaction between the advanced pharmaceutical industry in Europe and the international pharmaceutical IP agenda. First, the chapter provides an overview of the history of TRIPs negotiations. Second, it analyses major elements of TRIPs (general provisions and basic principles, dispute settlements, enforcement, TRIPs Council and the system of notifications). Third, the chapter reports on TRIPs major flaws, focusing mainly on its lack of effectiveness in the elimination of anti-competitive practices and insufficient assistance to countries with low IP capabilities. Finally, the chapter examines and elaborates...

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