Trips Agreement Minimum Standards

These agreements are expected to have the greatest impact on the pharmaceutical sector and access to medicines in the commercial aspects of intellectual property rights (TRIPS). The TRIPS Agreement has been in force since 1995 and is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property to date. The TRIPS Agreement introduced global minimum standards for the protection and enforcement of almost all forms of intellectual property rights (IPRs), including those relating to patents. International agreements prior to TRIPS did not establish minimum standards for patents. At the time of the start of negotiations, more than 40 countries around the world did not grant patent protection for pharmaceuticals. The TRIPS Agreement now requires all WTO members, with a few exceptions, to adapt their legislation to minimum standards for the protection of intellectual property rights. In addition, the TRIPS Agreement introduced detailed obligations on the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Under the Paris Convention, the principle of national treatment allowed for what was generally referred to as “asymmetries”, i.e. the adoption by different countries of standards of protection at different levels of national development (provided that national treatment was ensured). The World Trade Organization `Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ( TRIPS) Agreement sets out minimum standards of protection that each government must grant to the intellectual property of other WTO members, which has limited previous room for manoeuvre for flexible national approaches. During the Uruguay Round negotiations, it was recognised that the Berne Agreement already provides, to a large extent, appropriate basic standards for copyright protection. Thus, it was agreed that the starting point would be the level of protection existing under the last act, the 1971 Paris Act, of that agreement.

The starting point is laid down in Article 9(1), which obliges members to comply with the substantive provisions of the 1971 Paris Act of the Berne Convention, namely Articles 1 to 21 of the Berne Convention (1971) and its Annex. However, Members have no right or obligation under the TRIPS Agreement with respect to the rights conferred under Article 6 bis bis of this Convention, i.e. copyright property rights (the right to claim authorship and against any derogatory act in respect of a work that would damage the honour or reputation of the author) or the rights derived therefrom. . . .

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