Policy Brief 12, January 2008

Who Should Bear the TRIPS Enforcement Cost?.

Establishing and strengthening the enforcement of intellectual property rights is a costly exercise both in terms of budgetary outlays and the employment of skilled personnel. It is particularly expensive for many developing countries, as economic benefits will go largely to foreign firms over the intermediate term.

One critical question is posed that “Who should bear the cost of enforcing TRIPS”? By analyzing from both economic and legal perspectives, this policy brief concludes that the enforcement cost shall be borne by private parties as IPR is private right in nature, and enforcement activities ought to be planned on a cost-benefit basis from a socially optimal perspective.

It is advisable that developing countries should deny bearing undue costs in respect of providing these measures beyond TRIPS requirements, such as border measures beyond the requirements of Article 51, criminal actions, the creation of special policy units or tribunals to combat piracy and counterfeiting and ex-officio measures.

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