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  • Cited by 5
  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: December 2011

21 - Protecting intellectual property rights under BITs, FTAs and TRIPS: Conflicting regimes or mutual coherence?

from Part V - Engagement with cross-cutting issues

Summary

Introduction

Policy-makers, commentators and scholars are increasingly realising the impact that (international) intellectual property (IP) protection has beyond incentivising investment in innovation and creativity. IP also touches upon areas of general societal concern such as public health, access to information, the environment, climate change and food security. At a recent World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) conference on these linkages, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy acknowledged that ‘the international intellectual property system cannot operate in isolation from broader public policy questions such as how to meet human needs as basic health, food and a clean environment’.

In the most relevant multilateral agreement on IP, the WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), several provisions have been identified as providing WTO Member States, in particular developing countries, flexibility and policy space to address such public interests. In 2001, WTO Member States emphasised several of these flexibilities in the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health.

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