The TRIPS Agreement, which stands for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, is a treaty that was created by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to protect and enforce intellectual property rights on a global scale. The agreement was concluded in 1994 and has since been ratified by 164 members of the WTO.
The TRIPS Agreement covers a wide range of intellectual property rights including patents, trademarks, copyright, and industrial designs. It sets out the minimum standards of protection that WTO member countries must provide for these intellectual property rights, and requires all member countries to establish a legal framework for the protection and enforcement of these rights.
One of the key provisions of the TRIPS Agreement is the requirement for WTO member countries to provide a minimum term of protection for patents and trademarks. For patents, the minimum term of protection is 20 years from the date of filing, while for trademarks the minimum term is 10 years. The agreement also requires member countries to provide patent protection for new forms of existing drugs and to allow for the extension of patent terms for pharmaceuticals in certain circumstances.
Another important provision of the TRIPS Agreement is the requirement for member countries to provide copyright protection for a minimum term of 50 years after the death of the author. The agreement also requires member countries to provide protection for digital works and to provide criminal penalties for copyright infringement.
The TRIPS Agreement has been the subject of much controversy, particularly with regard to its impact on access to affordable medicines in developing countries. Critics have argued that the agreement has made it more difficult for developing countries to obtain affordable medicines, as it has increased the cost of patented drugs and limited the ability of countries to produce generic versions of these drugs.
Despite these criticisms, the TRIPS Agreement remains an important treaty for the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights on a global scale. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and dependent on intellectual property, it is likely that the TRIPS Agreement will continue to play an important role in shaping the global intellectual property landscape.