Research Paper 15, January 2008

The Changing Structure and Governance of Intellectual Property Enforcement.

Twelve years ago the TRIPS Agreement introduced global minimum standards of intellectual property protection and enforcement. To the extent that the substantive obligations under the Agreement have now been widely implemented in national legislation, developing countries are facing increased pressure to bolster intellectual property enforcement.

The European Union, Japan and the United States are undertaking new efforts to strengthen and harmonize at the international level the various means by which countries seek to enforce intellectual property rights. To boost the agenda they have jointly announced plans to negotiate a new international anti-counterfeit treaty independently of WIPO and have made intellectual property enforcement a priority issue for the G8.

This research paper provides a broad overview and analysis of the changing multilateral framework for intellectual property enforcement and the challenges that it presents for developing countries. It examines current multilateral obligations and traces developments in the field of intellectual property enforcement in various multilateral fora, including the WCO, WHO, WIPO, WTO and Interpol. Finally, it analyses the approach of the United States and European Union to strengthening intellectual property enforcement in third countries through regional, bilateral and unilateral mechanisms such as regional and bilateral agreements.

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