After the Second Extension of the Transition Period for LDCs: How Can the WTO Gradually Integrate the Poorest Countries into TRIPS?

41 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2013 Last revised: 24 Oct 2015

See all articles by Arno Hold

Arno Hold

University of Bern - World Trade Institute, NCCR Trade Regulation

Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law; University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 1, 2013

Abstract

Due to economic, financial and administrative constraints, least-developed countries (LDCs) have not managed to make significant progress in the implementation of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In the latest TRIPS Council meeting of 11-12 June 2013, WTO Members have accepted this reality and granted LDCs a second extension of the transition period for another eight years. This working paper seeks to assist future discussions on how to meaningfully integrate the poorest countries into the WTO system for the protection of intellectual property. The authors first provide a comprehensive legal analysis of the various rights and obligations for LDCs, developed country Members and international organizations under the transitional arrangements in the TRIPS Agreement, subsequent WTO legislation and in particular the TRIPS Council Decisions of November 2005 and June 2013. The text also contains on overview on the underlying factors and processes that lead to these progressive extensions of the transition period for LDCs till July 2021. It then identifies substantial shortcomings of the current situation following the Decision of June 2013. Above all, there is still need for greater coordination on the national and multilateral level in order to provide incentives to LDCs to engage in this process and to unlock increased technical and financial assistance for LDCs. The authors then propose potential avenues for WTO Members to move forward: The priority needs assessment process should be reformed and additional incentives should be identified for WTO Members to cooperate more actively towards LDCs’ integration in the global IP system. The authors also advocate the application of a more gradual and development-oriented concept of TRIPS implementation for LDCs.

Keywords: intellectual property, TRIPS, WTO, LDC, technical assistance, transition period, technology transfer, graduation

JEL Classification: K33, K40, O10, O19, O34, O39, F02, F15

Suggested Citation

Hold, Arno and Mercurio, Bryan Christopher, After the Second Extension of the Transition Period for LDCs: How Can the WTO Gradually Integrate the Poorest Countries into TRIPS? (July 1, 2013). NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No. 2013/42. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2302335 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2302335

Arno Hold (Contact Author)

University of Bern - World Trade Institute, NCCR Trade Regulation ( email )

Hallerstrasse 6
Bern, 3012
Switzerland
+41 31 631 32 70 (Phone)
+41 31 631 36 30 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nccr-trade.org/people/hold/

Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

6/F Western Teaching Complex
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong
(852) 2696 1139 (Phone)

University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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