Research Handbook on the Protection of Intellectual Property under WTO Rules
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Research Handbook on the Protection of Intellectual Property under WTO Rules

Intellectual Property in the WTO Volume I

Edited by Carlos M. Correa

This comprehensive Handbook provides an in-depth analysis of the origin and main substantive provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, the most influential international treaty on intellectual property currently in force.
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Chapter 5: The Objectives and Principles of the TRIPS Agreement

Peter K. Yu


Peter K. Yu* Introduction The Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) is one of the more controversial international intellectual property agreements that have entered into force. Its negotiations were highly contentious, and the perspectives of developed and less developed countries on the role of intellectual property protection and enforcement remain far apart. In recent years, less developed countries – including both developing and least developed countries – have expressed their deep dissatisfaction with the way the TRIPS Agreement has been interpreted and implemented. They are also frustrated by the ongoing demands by developed countries for protections that are in excess of what they promised during the TRIPS negotiations – often through new bilateral and regional trade and investment agreements. As they claim, the Agreement as interpreted by their developed trading partners and the additional TRIPS-plus demands ignore their local needs, national interests, technological capabilities, institutional capacities, and public health conditions.1 These concerns and frustrations eventually led to the establishment of a set of development agendas at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and other international fora.2 Although the TRIPS Agreement’s one-size-fits-all – or, more precisely, super-size-fits-all – approach is highly problematic, the Agreement includes a number of flexibilities to facilitate development and to protect the public interest. To safeguard these flexibilities, Articles 7 and 8 provide explicit and important objectives and principles that play impor- * Copyright © 2009 Peter K. Yu. This chapter was abridged and adapted from Yu, Peter K. (2009), ‘The objectives and principles of...

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