Civil Society Urges World Trade Organization To Give The Poorest Countries In The World More Time To Implement International Intellectual Property Agreement

Carolina Rossini | Electronic Frontier Foundation | October 23, 2012

The relentless expansion of intellectual property from the developed world to the developing world is rooted in a key international agreement: it’s called the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (colloquially, “TRIPS”), and it was enacted in 1994 by the World Trade Organization (WTO). TRIPS was envisioned as a means for expanding markets for intellectual property (IP), and of reducing barriers to international trade in intellectual property, through the effective protection of intellectual property rights. For some, effective protection of intellectual property is associated with high standards of protection and enforcement. 

TRIPS, for all its IP maximalism, encoded the concept of special and differential treatment to country members. That means that developing countries and least developed countries have different levels of obligation. Developing nations have special needs and requirements emerging from their economic, financial and administrative constraints and they require more flexibility to create a viable technological base. [...]