TRIPS — Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP). It plays a central role in facilitating trade in knowledge and creativity, in resolving trade disputes over IP, and in assuring WTO members the latitude to achieve their domestic policy objectives. It frames the IP system in terms of innovation, technology transfer and public welfare. The Agreement is a legal recognition of the significance of links between IP and trade and the need for a balanced IP system.


Staff working papers

Full list 


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Understanding TRIPS

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Specific topics

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TRIPS Council

The TRIPS Council is responsible for administering and monitoring the operation of the TRIPS Agreement. In its regular meetings, the TRIPS Council serves as a forum for discussion between members on key issues.

In its special sessions, the TRIPS Council serves as a forum for negotiations on a multilateral system of notification and registration of geographical indications (GIs) for wines and spirits.

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TRIPS transparency

Transparency mechanisms help the TRIPS Council to monitor the operation of the TRIPS Agreement and promote the understanding of members intellectual property policies and legal systems. These mechanisms include WTO members' notifications, responses to checklists of questions, reviews of implementing legislation, reports on technical assistance and technology transfer, and contact points.

The Guide to Transparency under TRIPS provides further details about these mechanisms and how members can provide and access the materials.

Access notifications, responses to checklists, and reports submitted by members and observers through the e-TRIPS Gateway.

Members and observers may submit notifications, checklist responses, and reports online via the e-TRIPS Submission System (restricted access).

Trade in knowledge: Intellectual property, digital trade and knowledge flows

Since the WTO TRIPS Agreement came into force in 1995, the scale, diversity and nature of cross-border commercial transactions in knowledge, and the ways in which intellectual property is licensed and traded, have changed fundamentally. A new portal provides material aimed at helping policymakers and others keep abreast of current developments in trade in knowledge, understand the changing patterns of knowledge flows across borders, and consider the legal, economic and policy dimensions of these developments.

Technical assistance

The main objective of the WTO's technical assistance activities is to help members and observers implement an intellectual property regime that meets their developmental and other domestic policy objectives. The activities take a holistic approach, recognizing that policy choices within the TRIPS framework are integral to a broader policy context.

Cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations

The WTO Secretariat cooperates with WIPO, WHO, and many other intergovernmental and regional organizations on matters of common interest. This cooperation includes participating as an observer in other organizations� meetings, collaborating on technical assistance, and consulting on other topics upon request.


Legal and interpretive texts

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