Development Agendas in a Changing World
Edited by Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz and Pedro Roffe
Chapter 14: Promoting Checks and Balances
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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