TRIPS Agreement

  • The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international legal agreement between all the member nations of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • It sets down minimum standards for the regulation by national governments of many forms of intellectual property (IP) as applied to nationals of other WTO member nations.
  • TRIPS was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994 and is administered by the WTO.
  • The TRIPS agreement introduced intellectual property law into the international trading system for the first time and remains the most comprehensive international agreement on intellectual property to date. In 2001, developing countries, concerned that developed countries were insisting on an overly narrow reading of TRIPS, initiated a round of talks that resulted in the Doha Declaration.
  • The Doha declaration is a WTO statement that clarifies the scope of TRIPS, stating for example that TRIPS can and should be interpreted in light of the goal “to promote access to medicines for all.”
  • Specifically, TRIPS requires WTO members to provide copyright rights, covering content producers including performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations; geographical indications, including appellations of origin; industrial designs; integrated circuit layout-designs; patents; new plant varieties; trademarks; trade dress; and undisclosed or confidential information.
  • TRIPS also specifies enforcement procedures, remedies, and dispute resolution procedures.
  • Protection and enforcement of all intellectual property rights shall meet the objectives to contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and obligations.
  • India has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Agreement (WTO) and the instrument of Acceptance for Trade Facilitation Agreement was handed over to WTO Director-General by India on April 22, 2016 
  • India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA. 
  • TFA sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. 

What is TRIPS Plus?

  • TRIPs Plus are higher level of protection norms demanded by the developed countries that are not prescribed by the WTO’s TRIPs regime. Although they are named as ‘TRIPS-Plus,’ they are not formally related to TRIPs. Rather, the term is used to indicate that these requirements go beyond the minimum standards imposed by TRIPs. Many developing countries who are members of FTAs are under pressure to enact these tougher conditions in their patent laws.
  • The developing countries have concerns over the higher level of protection demanded by the developed world. They fear that once such levels of protection are given multilaterally, it will reduce competition and may led to price rise of medicines, affecting health security in poor countries.

What is Data Exclusivity?

  • Data exclusivity is the protection of clinical test data submitted to a regulatory agency to prove safety, quality and efficacy of a new drug, and preventing the generic drug manufacturers from relying on this data in their own applications. Such a data exclusivity will stop generic drug manufactures of developing countries from using these data while applying for licenses.
  • The demand for protecting exclusive data that have high commercial value is a major demand from the developed world which doesn’t usually come under TRIPs.