The RCEP and Trans-Pacific Intellectual Property Norms

47 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2016 Last revised: 22 Oct 2016

Peter K. Yu

Texas A&M University School of Law

Date Written: October 12, 2016


In the past few years, the Trans-Pacific Partnership has garnered considerable media, policy and scholarly attention. Rarely analyzed and only occasionally mentioned is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This Agreement is currently being negotiated among Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Launched in November 2012 under the ASEAN 6 framework, the RCEP negotiations build on past trade and non-trade discussions between ASEAN and its six major Asia-Pacific neighbors.

This article examines the RCEP, with a focus on the intellectual property norms that the partnership agreement seeks to develop. The first half of the article focuses on the RCEP as a mega-regional agreement. It begins by briefly discussing the partnership’s historical origins. It then explores three possible scenarios in which the Agreement will help shape trade and intellectual property norms in the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, the article examines the scenarios in which the Agreement will function as a rival pact, a building block, or an alternative path.

The second half of this article turns to a more specific focus on intellectual property norms that are being established through the RCEP negotiations. It not only discusses the latest leaked draft of the RCEP intellectual property chapter, but also analyzes the Agreement in five distinct areas: copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret and intellectual property enforcement. The article then tackles the easy question concerning whether the RCEP Agreement will contain an intellectual property chapter — and if so, whether such a chapter will look like the chapter in the TPP Agreement. The article concludes by turning to a much harder question concerning whether the RCEP intellectual property chapter will contain high or low intellectual property standards.

Suggested Citation

Yu, Peter K., The RCEP and Trans-Pacific Intellectual Property Norms (October 12, 2016). Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 50, 2017 Forthcoming; Texas A&M University School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-50. Available at SSRN:

Peter K. Yu (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University School of Law ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX 76102
United States


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