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These are the slides for my presentation to the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce International Intellectual Property Conference, Combating Transnational Intellectual Property Crime at the Langham Hotel on 12 Dec 2013.
TRIPS is short for the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The reason it is the lynchpin of the world intellectual property system is that it requires states to provide minimum levels of protection for the intellectual assets of its own and other states' nationals as a condition of membership of the World Trade Organization ("WTO"), That is because TRIPS is an annex to the WTO agreement.
The WTO administers the WTO agreement which facilitates trade between 159 countries. All member states of the Gulf Co-operation Council are party to the agreement though there are several important states in the Middle East North Africa Region that are not.
TRIPS came into being because disparities in IP protection hinder world trade. The reason there are disparities is because different countries have different interests. For instance, the USA wishes to look after its pharmaceutical industry, India wishes to develop a pharmaceutical industry and South Africa wants access to cheap drugs, TRIPS balances those conflicting interests.
- minimum standards of IP protection;
- requires member states to enforce such protection; and
- provides dispute resolution mechanisms between states.
TRIPS requires states to protect 6 types of intellectual assets:
- works of art and literature
- goodwill relating to gods and services
- regional agriculture and viticulture
- industrial designs
- inventions, and
- undisclosed information.
It requires member states to provide fair and equitable procedures including civil remedies, border controls and criminal sanctions for counterfeiting and piracy. Counterfeiting means trade mark infringement on an industrial scale and piracy copyright infringement on an industrial scale.
There are dispute resolution procedures where states believe that there has been inadequate implementation of the agreement