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Intellectual Property and Sustainable Development

Development Agendas in a Changing World

Edited by Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz and Pedro Roffe

This comprehensive book considers new and emerging IP issues from a development perspective, examining recent trends and developments in this area. Presenting an overview of the IP landscape in general, the contributing authors subsequently narrow their focus, providing wide-ranging case studies from countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America on topical issues in the current IP discourse. These include the impact of IP on the pharmaceutical sector, the protection of life forms and traditional knowledge, geographical indications, access to knowledge and public research institutes, and the role of competition policy. The challenges developing countries face in the TRIPS-Plus world are also explored in detail.
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Chapter 14: Promoting Checks and Balances

Carsten Fink


Carsten Fink INTRODUCTION Over the past few decades, developing countries have substantially widened and deepened the protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs). This move was largely brought about by external pressure – intellectual property-producing interests in rich countries lobbying their governments to demand stronger IPRs protection as a matter of enhanced market access. The conclusion of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations in 1994 thus established the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as one of three pillar agreements framing the multilateral trading rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since then, so-called ‘TRIPS-Plus’ disciplines have been created in bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) – notably those of the United States. In addition, international treaties that would foresee a strengthening of certain aspects of the intellectual property system are being considered at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The context in which developing countries adopt new IPRs policies differs from how these policies have evolved in developed countries. Even though the interests of IPRs owners have always played a key role in norm setting in developed nations, IPRs policies have been embedded in a broader institutional framework providing certain checks and balances to the exclusive rights of IPRs holders. These checks and balances are not well developed in many developing countries. This chapter points to selected checks and balances and asks, specifically, how the adoption of competition laws can be promoted in developing countries. SELECTED CHECKS AND BALANCES The set of complementary policies that can provide checks and balances...

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