How Post- TRIPS Negotiations Reframe the ‘Trade- Related Aspects’ of Intellectual Property after TRIPS: The Lessons of WTO Accessions

The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established the first multilateral understanding of what constitutes a standard for ‘adequate’ and ‘effective’ protection of intellectual property rights, and established a new mechanism for monitoring and reviewing how these standards are met. The policy and legal framework defined by the TRIPS Agreement has, in the two decades since it entered into force, progressively gained acceptance as a legitimate, balanced and transparent set of standards. Since then, however, two parallel sets of negotiations have revisited the standards defined by TRIPS: the multilateral WTO accession negotiations, and bilateral and regional trade negotiations outside the WTO. In each case, TRIPS standards have been further elaborated, and timelines for their implementation altered, in a manner that produces a layering of rules upon the foundation of TRIPS. However, the institutional, legal and policy implications of these two lines of development contrast sharply. This chapter reviews the main lines of development of rules relating to intellectual property in the accession processes, and contrasts these with the parallel developments outside the WTO. It concludes with an analysis of the policy and practical lessons that can be derived from contrasting these two processes.

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