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A Business-oriented overview of Intellectual Property for Law Students WIPO, Geneva 20 – 22 March 2006. WTO and the TRIPS Agreement. Wolf R. MEIER-EWERT WTO Secretariat. Location : Geneva, Switzerland Established : 1 January 1995 Created by : Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94)  

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A Business-oriented overview of Intellectual Property for Law Students

WIPO, Geneva 20 – 22 March 2006

WTO and the TRIPS Agreement


WTO Secretariat

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Location Law Students: Geneva, Switzerland

Established: 1 January 1995

Created by: Uruguay Round negotiations (1986-94)  

Membership: 149 countries (11.12.2005)

Budget: 169m Swiss francs, 2005

Secretariat staff: ~600

Head: Director-General Pascal Lamy


• Administering WTO trade agreements

• Forum for trade negotiations

• Handling trade disputes

• Monitoring national trade policies

• Technical assistance and training for developing countries

• Cooperation with other international organizations


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What is the WTO? Law Students

Somewhere to talk

• agreed rules and commitments

• … with basic principles for trade

• forum fornegotiations

• … and dispute settlement

• member-driven

• supporting Secretariat

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Agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS)

  • Annex 1C of WTO Agreement

  • Coverage

    • most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property to date

    • incorporating substantive provisions of:

      • Paris Convention (1967)

      • Berne Convention(1971)

      • Rome Convention (1961)

      • Treaty on IP in Respect of Integrated Circuits (1989)

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" rights (TRIPS)Incorporation" Technique

  • Existing conventions

  • To avoid re-opening of existing texts

  • To negotiate the "plus" elements

  • To have a short but comprehensive text

    Conventions fully incorporated or almost fully incorporated

    Plus elements

    Conventions with very few elements






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TRIPS: Main features (1) rights (TRIPS)

  • Coverage of TRIPS

    Areas of intellectual property covered:

    • copyright and related rights

    • trademarks including service marks;

    • geographical indications including appellations of origin;

    • industrial designs;

    • patents including the protection of new varieties of plants;

    • the layout-designs of integrated circuits; and

    • undisclosed information, including trade secrets and test data.

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TRIPS: Main features (2) rights (TRIPS)

  • Enforcement Provisions

    • General Principles applicable to IPRs

    • Specifies Procedures that must be available

  • Dispute Settlement

    • Part of the integrated Dispute Settlement System of the WTO

    • No unilateral action by Members allowed

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    TRIPS Basic Principles (1) rights (TRIPS)

    • Freedom to determine the appropriate method of implementing the Agreement (Art. 1.1)

    • National treatment (Art. 3)

    • Most-favoured nation treatment (MFN) (Art. 4, 5)

    • Exhaustion of rights (Art. 6); see (WT/MIN(01)/DEC/2)

    • Objectives (Art. 7); see WT/MIN(01)/DEC/2

    • Principles (Art. 8); see WT/MIN(01)/DEC/2

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    TRIPS: Basic principles (2) rights (TRIPS)

    • National treatment

      • forbids discrimination between a Member's own nationals and the nationals of other Members

    • Most-Favoured-Nation Treatment

      • forbids discrimination between the nationals of other Members

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    TRIPS - Transitional arrangements rights (TRIPS)

    • 1 Jan. 1995: entry into force

    • 1 Jan. 2005: developing countries extend product patent protection to areas of technology not previously covered

    • 1 July 2013: least-developed countries

    • 1 Jan. 2016: least-developed countries provide pharmaceutical patents

    • Other provisions

      • non-backsliding provision

      • special transitional arrangements in certain cases

      • mail-box and exclusive marketing rights

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    2001 Doha Declaration: TRIPS rights (TRIPS)

    • Emphasized that TRIPS should be supportive of public health

      • See separate declaration

    • September 2003 deadline for negotiations on wine and spirit GI registration

    • TRIPS Council reviews to consider biological diversity, traditional knowledge and development objectives

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    Doha Development Agenda rights (TRIPS)

    Trade Negotiating Committee

    General Council

    Neg Group on

    Market Access

    TRIPS Council

    Neg Group

    on Rules



    TRIPS Council Special Session

    TRIPS in the WTO

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    TRIPS Council: Regular Activities rights (TRIPS)

    • Notifications by Members under various provisions

    • Notifications under Article 63.2 (laws, regulations and practices)

    • Review of national legislation (laws, regulations and practices), including process of questions-replies, presentations in the meeting, follow-up questions-replies

      Merits of the process in general: transparency (dispute prevention effect); valuable source of information; right of all Members to pose questions

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    TRIPS Council: Current Issues rights (TRIPS)

    • Public health

      • Finding a solution for countries with no or insufficient manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector to make effective use of compulsory licensing (Decision of 6 December 2005; IP/C/41)

    • Geographical indications

      • multilateral register for GIs for wines and spirits

      • discussions on "extension“

      • „clawback“ proposal by the EC in Agriculture

    • Biotechnology/traditional knowledge/biodiversity

      • discuss the relationship between the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the TRIPS Agreement

      • Introduction of a disclosure requirement for patent applicants proposed by Brasil, India and others.

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    www. rights (TRIPS)wto.org

    For more information:


    Tel.: +41 22 739 63 44