TRIPS Agreement

It is a comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property, incorporating the substantive provisions of several earlier conventions/treaties.

Subject matter of the TRIPS Agreement:

The areas of intellectual property that it covers are:

  • copyright and related rights (i.e. the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations)
  • trademarks including service marks
  • geographical indications including appellations of origin
  • industrial designs
  • patents
  • protection of new varieties of plants
  • the layout-designs of integrated circuits
  • undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data

Main features of the TRIPS Agreement:

The TRIPS Agreement is a minimum standards agreement for various intellectual property. Members may provide more extensive protection of intellectual property if they wish, and are free to determine the appropriate method of implementing the provisions of the Agreement within their own legal system and practice. The three main provisions include:

  • Standards: sets out the minimum standards of protection to be provided by each Member. Each of the main elements of protection is defined, namely the subject-matter to be protected, the rights to be conferred and permissible exceptions to those rights, and the minimum duration of protection.
  • Enforcement: deals with domestic procedures and remedies for the enforcement of intellectual property rights.
  • Dispute settlement: makes disputes between WTO Members about the respect of the TRIPS obligations subject to the WTO's dispute settlement procedures.


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