Back to Bilateralism? Pendulum Swings in International Intellectual Property Protection

22 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2005


This article briefly presents an account of bilateralism in international economic relations - encompassing intellectual property regulation - that suggests that the TRIPS Agreement should never have been understood as a crowning point of international intellectual property regulation. The article explores the implications of this possible reformulation of the theory and place of the TRIPS Agreement in international intellectual property law and policy. The author argues that the new bilateralism, while similar in form, serves a different agenda from the old bilateralism which relied principally on commercial agreements as a means to stabilize, formalize and advance interests ostensibly mutual to the contracting parties. Notwithstanding this different function, and in spite of the deployment of coercive measures enforced through unilateral trade policy, the author seeks to consider what, if any, real prospects for gain may exist for developing countries under the new bilateralism.

Keywords: TRIPS Agreement, international intellectual property, bilateralism, bilateral agreements, accord ADPIC, propriété intellectuelle internationale, bilatéralisme, accords bilatéraux

JEL Classification: F10, 034

Suggested Citation

Okediji, Ruth, Back to Bilateralism? Pendulum Swings in International Intellectual Property Protection. University of Ottawa Law & Technology Journal, Vol. 1, p. 125, 2003-2004, Available at SSRN:

Ruth Okediji (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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