The Implications of TRIPS Agreement 1994 of the World Trade Organisation for the Developing Countries
African Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 37-64, 2011
29 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011 Last revised: 16 Sep 2012
Date Written: February 4, 2011
The obligations of WTO members to grant substantial protection to IP rights resulted from concerns of technology exporting countries, like the U.S. in particular, afraid of losing out to newly industrialised countries culminated in the adoption of the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement in 1994 of the World Trade Organisation (Helpman, 1993). The case against IP protection is that, simply put, for developing countries the cost outweighs the benefits. The traditional view is that developing countries receive little or nothing for the price they pay in granting foreign monopolies over technology and industry within their national borders (ICC, 1996). It is further argued that the IP rights stifle domestic innovation and impede the diffusion of technology in the developing countries. Therefore, with quite some justification, developing countries considers TRIPS as an instrument serving the interests of rich countries (Maskus, 1993). This paper argues that: (1) TRIPS serve the best interest of developed countries and that the MFN clause of the GATT/WTO has little or no significant benefits to the developing countries with regards to the TRIPS; (2) TRIPS cannot guarantee transfer of technology from the developed countries to the developing countries; (3) Consumers in developing countries will have to pay for technology even if no transfer of technology takes place to their respective home countries; (4) Legal protection of IP rights is not a necessary condition for technology transfer (Abbot, 1998); and (5) That TRIPS constitute exploitation machinery for economic control of the developing countries by the developed nations in the WTO (Primo Braga, 1995).
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