Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

Intellectual Property, Trade and Development: Strategies to Optimize Economic Development in a TRIPS-Plus Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.


The emergence of the World Trade Organization (WTO) as the juridical framework for global trade is one of the most fundamental changes in the second half of the last cenrury. No less epochal is the linkage of intellectual property rights (hereafter, IPR) issues to global trade governance. Prior to the WTO era, matters of IPR at the global level were usually dealt with at various fora of the United Nations, especially the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIP0).

The implication in this transformation has not been lost on commentators. Vincent Chiappetta describes TRIPS as a 'dramatic shift away from the traditional view that intellectual property law primarily serves the interest of national cultures, values, and politics'. On his part, Endeshaw opines that 'the characterization of intellectual property lawmaking and enforcement as a trade issue was a shrewd device which transposed the internal policies and legal formula concocted by the US in 1974 to the international fora from 1984 onwards'. No matter the perspectives on the changes wrought by TRIPS, there is a consensus that the annexing of intellectual property rights issues by the WTO under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of lntellectual Property Rights, hereafter TRIPS, is a radical restructuring of world trade.


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