Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights in WTO In TRIPS Agreement intellectual property rights refer to copyrights , trademarks
, geographical indications
, industrial designs
, integrated circuit layout-designs
and protection of undisclosed information
. They apply to all WRO members. Least Developing countries have been given time until January 2006 to apply them. In GATT 1947 there was no specific agreement on intellectual property rights. TRIPS Agreement being part of single undertaking applies to all WTO members and is subject to WTO dispute settlement mechanism. TRIPS Agreement includes Paris Convention
on industrial property, Berne Convention
on copyright,Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits (IPIC Treaty) and International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (Rome Convention)
World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) was created in 1974 by UNO to promote intellectual property protection, to ensure cooperation among the unions created by Paris and Berne Conventions. In 1996 it entered into an agreement with WTO for notification of national laws,for protection of national emblems and technical cooperation. TRIPS is a minimum standards agreement and requires members to implement its provisions within their legal system. Patent Licensing Article 31 allows compulsory licensing and government use of a patent without authorisation of its owner in emergency conditions to protect the interests of right holder. Authorisation under compulsory licensing cannot be exclusive and must be granted to serve domestic market. Patent protection to plants Article 27.3(b) allows countries to exclude from patentability some types of plant and animal inventions other than microorganism and biological process for production of plants & animals. But members must allow patents or similar mechanism for protection of plants. A review of the provisions is underway. TRIPS Council comprises WTO members and its responsibilities are Monitoring It monitors the laws enacted by members to implementing the obligations. Under article 63.2 of TRIPS Agreement members supply it copies of their laws for review. Consultations Through council countries consult each other on problems they may have with each other concerning TRIPS. It also interprets provisions of the agreement.
Technical Cooperation It monitors fulfillment of technical cooperation obligations by developed countries under article 67.It gives developing countries information on assistance offered and responds to their unfulfilled needs. Reviews and negotiations on specific issues The TRIPS Agreement calls for negotiation of a multilateral system of notification and registration for geographical indications for wines (article(23.4),review of application on protecting geographical indications (article 24.2),after every 4 years review of option to exclude from patentability certain plant and animal inventions (article 27.3b)and examination of TRIP’S applicability to non-violation complaints under dispute settlement.(article 64). Review of TRIPS agreement The council must hold review of whole agreement after five years. It is empowered to review it at any time to accommodate any new development and suggest amendments. (article 71) Obligations of WTO Members under the TRIPS Agreement Under article 63.2 of TRIPs agreement members notify to council their legislation concerning availability, scope, acquisition, enforcement and prevention of abuse of intellectual property rights. These notifications allow members to review each other’s legislation and promote transparent policies on intellectual property prootection. Countries can avail options under articles 1..3 &3.1, for definition of beneficiary person and national treatment, of TRIPS agreement by notifying council. It has adopted procedures to implement notification obligations. Under article 4(d), the most favored obligation need not include any favor, advantage or immunity accruing to the member from any previously concluded agreement, prior to WTO, on intellectual rights protection. It must be notified by council and must not result in unfair discrimination against others. As per article 67 developed countries must provide technical and financial cooperation to developing and least-developed countries.Countries as per article 69 have to establish administrative mechanisms to eliminate trade in infringing goods.