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TRIPS Agreement

Definition : TRIPS Agreement

The TRIPS Agreement is a multilateral Treaty concluded by the members of the World Trade Organization ("WTO") on all trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights ("TRIPS").

  • Definition

This treaty aims to harmonize intellectual property rules on an international scale, by setting minimum standards for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in all WTO member countries. It covers a wide range of subjects, such as patents, trademarks, industrial designs, geographical indications, copyright and neighboring rights.

The Agreement was negotiated within the framework of the Uruguay Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and came into force in 1995. The Uruguay Round was a series of multilateral trade negotiations which began in 1986 and ended in 1994. The negotiations led to the creation of the WTO and the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement, which was signed by all WTO members.

The TRIPS Agreement has generated controversy and criticism. Public interest groups argued that the high intellectual property standards imposed by the agreement could hamper access to medicines, freedom of expression and the economic development of developing countries. In response to these concerns, developing countries obtained special safeguard provisions to enable them to take their development needs into account in the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement.

  • Review

The TRIPS Agreement has undergone changes as a result of the Doha Development Agenda. Launched in 2001, the Doha Development Agenda opened negotiations for the transfer of technology to the least developed countries. As a result, the TRIPS Agreement was amended by a protocol adopted in Geneva on December 6, 2005. The TRIPS Agreement now provides for a system of Compulsory Licensing for patents relating to the manufacture of pharmaceutical products intended for export to countries with public health problems.

To learn more about the subject, read Matthieu Dhenne's article: "Covid-19: Patents and Compulsory Licensing".