International intellectual property (IP) protection is increasingly governed by a network of bilateral and regional treaties. Most of these contain obligations on the protection and enforcement of IP that set significantly higher standards than those of the TRIPS Agreement, commonly referred to as ‘TRIPS-plus’. Human rights bodies, NGOs, and academic commentators often criticise these standards for undermining flexibilities available under TRIPS. Such policy space, however, is critical to design national IP laws in light of domestic needs. This chapter makes a case for the continued relevance of the TRIPS Agreement as an overarching, multilateral framework. My argument is based on the role treaty law affords to the object and purpose expressed in Articles 7 and 8 TRIPS. They have not only been recognised as essential for promoting access to medicines in the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. As integral objectives and principles of TRIPS, Articles 7 and 8 limit the ability of WTO Members to modify their IP-related treaty obligations inter se. Based on their negotiation history and common understandings expressed by WTO Members, I argue for an enhanced role of TRIPS’ object and purpose as a loose constitutional frame for IP commitments in bilateral and regional treaties.
Thursday, December 14, 2017
Grosse Ruse-Khan: TRIPS to FTAs and Back: Re-Conceptualising the Role of a Multilateral IP Framework in a TRIPS-Plus World
Henning Grosse Ruse-Khan (Univ. of Cambridge - Law) has posted From TRIPS to FTAs and Back: Re-Conceptualising the Role of a Multilateral IP Framework in a TRIPS-Plus World (Netherlands Yearbook of International Law, forthcoming). Here's the abstract: