TRIPS - the Lynchpin of the World Intellectual Property System

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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.

TRIPS provides:
- 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

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TRIPS - the Lynchpin of the World Intellectual Property System

  1. 1. TRIPS The Lynchpin of the Word Intellectual Property System 12 Dec 2013 Jane Lambert
  2. 2. History of World IP System 1474 Venice enacted first patent law 1623 Statute of Monopolies 1710 Statute of Anne 1883 Paris Convention 1886 Berne Convention 1974 WIPO Convention 1995 World Trade Organization
  3. 3. World Trade Organization ● Administers the WTO Agreement which facilitates trade between 159 countries. ● All GCC countries are party to the WTO Agreement but Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Yemen are not. ● Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”) is Annex 1C to the WTO Agreement.
  4. 4. Purpose of TRIPS ● Disparities in IP protection is a barrier to trade and investment ● Different countries have different interests ○ USA with large film and TV industry concerned with bootlegging, counterfeiting and piracy ○ India with a burgeoning pharmaceutical industry want access to markets ○ South Africa needs access to cheap medicines ● TRIPS balances those interests
  5. 5. Outline of TRIPS ● Sets minimum standards for legal protection of most types of intellectual assets (“IA”) ● Requires member states to provide means of enforcing such legal protection including civil proceedings, criminal sanctions and customs controls ● Dispute resolution mechanisms
  6. 6. IP Rights (Legal Protection of IA) ● Works of art and literature by copyright and related rights ● Goodwill in goods and services by trade marks ● Regional agriculture and viticulture by geographical indications ● Industrial designs by design registration or otherwise
  7. 7. IP Rights (Legal Protection of IA) ● New inventions (products including new plant varieties and processes) by patents and plant breeders’ rights ● Layout of microprocessors by semiconductor topography rights ● Secret technical and commercial information by law of confidence or other rights).
  8. 8. Enforcement ● Art 41 (2) “Procedures concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights shall be fair and equitable.” ● Art 51 Customs should have power to impound counterfeit and pirated goods at borders, ports and airports. ● Art 61 Criminal sanctions for wilful counterfeiting or piracy.
  9. 9. Criminal Sanctions Art 61 “Members shall provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied at least in cases of wilful trademark counterfeiting or copyright piracy on a commercial scale. Remedies available shall include imprisonment and/or monetary fines sufficient to provide a deterrent, consistently with the level of penalties applied for crimes of a corresponding
  10. 10. Dispute Resolution ● Member states must publish their statutes, regulations and judgments. ● They must notify same information to Council for TRIPS. ● Disputes to be resolved by consultations between governments wherever possible. ● Referral to dispute resolution panels where not
  11. 11. Further Information ● http://www.wto. org/english/docs_e/legal_e/27-trips_02_e. htm ● http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/ ● http://nipclaw.blogspot.co.uk/ ● http://nipc-gulf.blogspot.co.uk/
  12. 12. Further Information Jane Lambert 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square London WC1R 5AH 020 7404 5252 jlambert@4-5.co.uk www.4-5.co.uk uk.linkedin.com/in/nipclaw/ https://twitter.com/nipclaw

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