How the TRIPS Agreement Impacts Global Intellectual Property Policies

    How the TRIPS Agreement Impacts Global Intellectual Property Policies

    The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), or the TRIPS Agreement, is the world’s foremost intellectual property agreement. This means that it has ultimate authority over intellectual property rights across the planet. The countries of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are part of this agreement.

    The TRIPS Agreement establishes the basic standards for governments’ regulation of different forms of intellectual property as applicable to nationals of other WTO countries. The initial signing of the TRIPS Agreement took place in 1994; the agreement came into effect almost one year later.

    Features of the TRIPS Agreement

    The TRIPS Agreement has three primary features. These features relate to standards, enforcement, and dispute settlement. With regard to standards, the TRIPS Agreement defines the minimum standards of intellectual property protection which must be provided by each member country.

    According to the TRIPS Agreement, every element to be protected must be defined. These elements include the subject matter which will receive protection, the rights provided and exceptions to those rights, and the minimum duration of this protection. In addition, obligations of any associated intellectual property conventions must be obeyed.

    The TRIPS Agreement also deals with the enforcement of intellectual property rights. It specifies general principles which apply to every procedure related to enforcement of intellectual property rights. The agreement then goes on to handle dispute settlement by ensuring that disputes between WTO members on intellectual property are in compliance with the WTO’s procedures for dispute settlement.

    The Flexibility of the TRIPS Agreement

    The TRIPS Agreement is flexible because its members may interpret its articles in any manner deemed necessary. For example, Article 27.3 permits countries to deny certain subject matter and inventions the right to be patented if such is required. The agreement also allows countries to extend patent terms to compensate for delays in the granting of patents due to technical difficulties experienced by issuing authorities.

    Countries which are part of the TRIPS Agreement may also use their own legal systems and practices for implementation of enforcement obligations. They may do so instead of using the mechanisms stated in Part III of the agreement. The WTO understands that in some countries, national legal systems are more able to guard intellectual property rights than are the agreement’s mechanisms. This is the primary reason why the WTO made
    the agreement flexible.

    The TRIPS Agreement’s Effects on Global Intellectual Property Policies

    Due to its sheer importance in the field of intellectual property, the TRIPS Agreement has had a significant impact in shaping global intellectual property policies. For example, the TRIPS Agreement states that intellectual property protection ought to contribute to the transfer of technology and global technological innovation. As such, most
    countries’ intellectual property policies are formulated in a way that promotes this technological transfer and development.

    The TRIPS Agreement also states that computer programs are to be protected as literary works. It has therefore influenced most countries’ copyright policies to do likewise. Service marks, meanwhile, receive protection via the agreement in the same way that trademarks do. This principle has once again influenced intellectual property policies around the world. Many countries protect service marks and trademarks by use of the same mechanisms.

    The TRIPS Agreement, Intellectual Property Policies, and the Global Economy

    The TRIPS Agreement plays a critical role within the global economy. It does so through its role as the world’s primary agreement on intellectual property. Through the influence of the TRIPS Agreement, participating countries have incentives to formulate intellectual property policies that combat offenses such as counterfeiting and piracy. These acts are illegal in almost every country of the world.

    The outlawing of counterfeiting and piracy promotes discovery and dissemination of new knowledge and information. Investors will be more inclined to put money into businesses which they know to market genuine products. Such businesses can then use these investments for research and development. The results of this research and development can then be marketed, generating a steady stream of revenue for the holder of the related intellectual property rights.

    The TRIPS Agreement also encourages foreign direct investment as well as the diffusion of knowledge all over the world. This is because when intellectual property rights in a country receive adequate protection through suitable policies, investors from around the world will become more inclined to invest in that country. Investors will have assurance that products and services from that country are unlikely to be unjustly or illegally replicated or simulated.

    Furthermore, foreigners may utilize any knowledge gained from the use or application of such products and services. They can then use this knowledge in their own countries. In this way, the TRIPS Agreement facilitates global development as well as the spread of knowledge.

    This article brought to you by Exy Intellectual Property Malaysia and Singapore.