The WTO has launched the second edition of “A Handbook on the WTO TRIPS Agreement”, which describes the historical and legal background to the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), its role in the organization, and its institutional framework.
The publication, which was launched on 27th November 2020 coincides with the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Agreement.
Building on the first edition published in 2012, the new Handbook provides a comprehensive and non-technical explanation of the TRIPS Agreement. Topics reviewed covers general provisions and basic principles; copyright and related rights; trademarks; geographical indications; patents; industrial designs, layout designs, undisclosed information, and anti-competitive practices; enforcement of intellectual property rights; dispute settlement; TRIPS and public health; and current TRIPS issues.
The book also contains a guide to TRIPS notifications by WTO members and describes how to access and make use of the official documentation relating to the TRIPS Agreement and connected issues.
Furthermore, it includes the legal texts of the TRIPS Agreement and the relevant provisions of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) conventions referred to in it, as well as subsequent relevant WTO instruments.
The new edition includes the amendment to the TRIPS Agreement that entered into force in 2017, marking the first time since the organization opened its doors in 1995 that WTO accords had been amended, and provides updates on other recent developments.
The publication was edited by Antony Taubman, Director of the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division of the WTO, Hannu Wager, a senior officer of that division, and Jayashree Watal, a former member of the division.
In the preface, Antony Taubman said: “The need for a practical knowledge of TRIPS, its provisions, and its institutional context extends beyond the traditional circle of trade negotiators and IP lawyers, and this Handbook has been prepared to serve the needs of this wider community of legislators, diplomats, policy-makers, other government officials, representatives of the civil society and industry, practitioners, journalists, students and other interested parties in the general public.”
This publication is the latest in a series of WTO handbooks aimed at providing a non-technical overview of key elements of the WTO system.
As a Handbook on the TRIPS Agreement, it provides a general account of the Agreement itself and describes its objectives, principles, and other provisions. The TRIPS Agreement has not been a static document since it entered into force in 1995, and the Handbook reflects the evolving context of TRIPS.
The Handbook gives an update of some key developments since the Agreement came into force, notably the 2001 Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health and the ensuing public health amendment to TRIPS, as well as ongoing negotiations and policy discussions within the WTO, and the pattern of dispute settlement.
The WTO, however, noted that for reasons of space and brevity, the Handbook concentrates on the text of the TRIPS Agreement and on TRIPS-related developments within the WTO itself. It does not describe in detail the important discussions and debates in other international policy processes and organizations that have dealt with TRIPS.
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