Daily Current Affairs for UPSC

Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

Syllabus - International Relations [GS Paper-2]


Recently, World Trade Organisation (WTO) members observed the 30th anniversary of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

TRIPS Agreement

  • The Venetian Patent Statute (1474): It was the first codified patent device in Europe that granted inventors a temporary monopoly on “new and ingenious devices”.
  • The Industrial Revolution and the Need for International Standards (19th Century): Rapid technological improvements created a want for the harmonisation of patent legal guidelines.
    • The Paris Convention (1883) was step one taken to guard highbrow work in other countries.
  • The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) addressed highbrow property in a confined way.
    • The Uruguay Round, spanning from 1987 to 1994, caused the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO, along with the TRIPS Agreement.
    • The WTO Agreement on TRIPS is the maximum comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property(IP).

What has been the TRIPS Agreement’s Role in International Collaboration?

  • Harmonisation of IP Laws: TRIPS set minimum standards for IP safety throughout member countries.
    • This created a more predictable felony environment for international trade and collaboration in research and development (R&D).
  • Increased Transparency: TRIPS obligated individuals to reveal their Intellectual Property (IP) laws and rules, fostering greater transparency within the global IP device.
  • Knowledge Sharing: TRIPS provisions on generation transfer inspire collaboration between evolved and developing countries.
    • Developed countries are obligated to offer mechanisms for shifting technology to developing nations underneath positive situations.
  • Promotion of Social and Economic Welfare: WTO highlighted TRIPS’ role in balancing rights with responsibilities to promote social and monetary welfare, aligning with the SDGs’ goals.
    • During the late 1990s crisis, TRIPS’ flexibilities were vital for access to antiretroviral treatments, illustrating its importance in public fitness emergencies.

What are the Challenges Related to TRIPS?

  • Balance Between Rights and Access: TRIPS’ focus on sturdy IP rights can restrict access to crucial drugs, educational materials, and agricultural technology in developing nations.
  • Biopiracy and Traditional Knowledge: Concerns exist regarding the patenting of genetic sources and traditional information from developing countries without fair repayment.
    • TRIPS’ provisions on disclosure of the origin of genetic assets and conventional knowledge are seen as inadequate.
  • Enforcement Issues: Enforcing IP rights, mainly in regions like copyright infringement and counterfeiting, remains a challenge for lots of developing nations.
    • Lack of resources and strong prison systems can restrict effective IP security.
  • Data Privacy: International discussions are needed to cope with records ownership, privacy, the problem of e-trade, and the patentability of facts-driven inventions within the context of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and massive facts.
  • Global Health Equity: Amidst ongoing debate on flexibilities in the TRIPS settlement, like obligatory licensing, access to low priced drug treatments still remains a challenge, mainly in the international south.

Way Forward

  • Standardisation and Capacity Building: Developing not unusual requirements and pleasant practices for IP enforcement across countries, along with capacity-building projects for developing countries, can create a fairer international IP panorama.
  • Open Innovation and Knowledge Sharing: Exploring fashions like open-supply collaboration and Creative Commons licenses can promote innovation while ensuring expertise accessibility.
  • Addressing Emerging Technologies: Establishing clear tips for IP ownership and rights associated with artificial intelligence (AI) and different emerging technologies may be essential for fostering accountable innovation.

Source: The Hindu


Q.In a globalized world, Intellectual Property Rights assume significance and are a source of litigation. Broadly distinguish between the terms—Copyrights, Patents and Trade Secrets. (2014)

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