IP Watch | 11 September 2017
New study looks at IP and the rise of mega-regional agreements
BY WILLIAM NEW
A substantive new study with contributions from a range of leading thinkers in the field of intellectual property rights delves into the history and future of mega-regional trade agreements and the evolution of IP rights.
The study, Current Alliances in International Intellectual Property Lawmaking: The Emergence and Impact of Mega-Regionals, is available here from the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD).
ICTSD published the fourth issue in the CEIPI-ICTSD series on Global Perspectives and Challenges for the Intellectual Property System produced jointly with the University of Strasbourg Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies (CEIPI). The new issue, edited by Pedro Roffe and Xavier Seuba, “explores the impact of plurilateralism on intellectual property law.”
According to the study summary: “The chapters making up the volume review systemic, substantive and enforcement-related issues that have been the focus of attention of trade agreements negotiated after the establishment of the WTO in 1994. Since then, the number of free trade agreements has burgeoned. The new volume analyses the past, the current context, and the most recently negotiated trade agreements, namely those of a plurilateral nature. Importantly, it considers the impact and possible scenarios brought about by the present impasse surrounding the future of these agreements and, more generally, the consequences of plurilateralism and the implications of these trends for the international system.”
The 160-page volume includes scholarly papers with contributions by Thomas Cottier, Frederick M. Abbott, Mira Burri, Peter K. Yu, Padmashree Gehl Sampath, Pedro Roffe, and Xavier Seuba.
An example of the level of analysis in the study is the chapter by Cottier (who is also an Intellectual Property Watch Board Member), in which he “addresses the question that has dominated the debate over intellectual property regulation for the last two decades, the search for balance between intellectual property and other social and economic interests. He does so by examining general principles of law and studying in depth three crucial interfaces: intellectual property and human rights, intellectual property and development, and intellectual property and trade,” according to the introduction.
Cottier introduces proposals for future lawmaking in the field of international intellectual property, cutting across areas such as fundamental rights, competition and development, the introduction notes. And he suggests the possibility that given the “impending failure to adopt mega-regional trade agreements limited to TRIPS-plus standards offers the option to further pursue the matter jointly in the WTO, WIPO and other specialised international fora.”
Abbott, as another example, “analyses the evolution of provisions contained in United States trade treaties since the adoption of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and their impact on pharmaceutical products,” the editors say. “The trend described is clear. While old agreements focused on intellectual property protection, more recent treaties broaden the scope and include regulatory standards. Likewise, they also include investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanisms that all private actors to initiate claims against host governments.”
Read the report here (pdf)
Below is the background of the contributors:
Frederick M. Abbott is Edward Ball Eminent Scholar Professor of International Law, Florida State
University College of Law.
Mira Burri is Senior Lecturer and Director for Internationalisation, Faculty of Law, University of
Thomas Cottier is Professor Emeritus of European and International Economic Law, Senior Research
Fellow, World Trade Institute, University of Bern, and Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Ottawa.
Padmashree Gehl Sampath is an expert at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aalborg University.
Pedro Roffe is Senior Fellow with the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development
Xavier Seuba is Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Center for International Intellectual Property Studies
(CEIPI), University of Strasbourg.
Peter K. Yu is Professor of Law and Director, Center for Law and Intellectual Property, Texas A&M
University School of Law