TRIPS Agreement

TRIPS agreement is an agreement on international rights. It stands for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Rights. It was a part of the same agreement that established World Trade Organisation (WTO). TRIPS Agreement came into force in 1995.

About the agreement

The TRIPS agreement established the standards for intellectual properties (IP). It established the IP standards for use of seven forms of intellectual properties such as copyrights, trademarks, geographical indicators, industrial designs, patents, layout designs for electronic circuits and trade secrets. The agreement is applicable to all the WTO members. The TIRPS agreement is monitored by TRIPS Council. It also provides a forum in which the WTO members shall consult on IP.

Significance

The TRIPS agreement is considered as one of the three pillars of WTO. The other two pillars of WTO are trade in services and trade in goods. The TRIPS agreement helps to settle dispute in an orderly manner. Before TRIPS, the enforcement of IP rights was not uniform and varied widely.

Doha Declaration on TRIPS Agreement

The WTO members adopted Doha Declaration in 2001. It reaffirmed the flexibility of TRIPS in matters related to patent rights. This was done to provide better access to essential medicines. In simple words, according to Doha declaration, the TRIPS agreement will not prevent governments from taking measures to protect public health. That is, TRIPS stays away from essential medicines. This relaxed TRIPS rules. By this, the life saving drugs and vaccines were made available to everyone. The pharmaceutical companies shall not look to make profit out of these.

Concerns raised against Doha Declaration

The corporates argued that unless their inventions are rewarded, they would suffer losses against the amounts invested in research and development. Also, if the right to monopolise is taken away in the medicinal field, it will reduce the incentives flowing towards innovation. The corporates also argued that the companies in the developing world do not possess the capacity to produce drugs and vaccines on large scale.

COVID-19

In 2020, India and South Africa proposed to the WTO to waive off TRIPS agreement for COVID-19 vaccines and other diagnostic medicines for time being.

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