Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

Information on intellectual property in the WTO, news and official records of the activities of the TRIPS Council, and details of the WTO’s work with other international organizations in the field:

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TRIPS news 

News about the TRIPS Council and intellectual property in the WTO, prepared for non-specialists.

> Follow specific TRIPS issues, e.g: TRIPS and health; geographical indications; protection for plants and animals, traditional knowledge and biodiversity; etc. See below.


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Intellectual property rights and the TRIPS Agreement 

What are intellectual property rights?
Intellectual property rights are the rights given to people over the creations of their minds.

Basic introduction to the WTO’s intellectual property (TRIPS) agreement
From “Understanding the WTO”, an introduction to the WTO, written for non-specialists.

Economics of intellectual property — primers
A series of informal guides to support technical assistance on economic concepts and analysis for policy issues related to intellectual property and trade
(1) Relevant concepts (pdf). (2) (Coming soon)

A more detailed overview of the TRIPS Agreement
“The TRIPS Agreement ... is to date the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property ...”

The text of the TRIPS Agreement
Browse or download from the legal texts gateway.
The TRIPS Agreement is Annex 1C of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization.

Other intellectual property conventions that the TRIPS Agreement refers to:
The Paris Convention, Berne Convention, Rome Convention, and treaty on integrated circuits.

Find decisions of WTO bodies concerning the TRIPS Agreement in the Analytical Index — Guide to WTO Law and Practice

Frequently-asked questions on TRIPS
Check to see if the answers to your questions are in one of these.

Videos on TRIPS


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Specific TRIPS issues 

News and explanations of some current TRIPS issues.

Overview: Current issues in intellectual property

TRIPS and public health 

Geographical indications

Article 27.3(b), protection for plants and animals, traditional knowledge and biodiversity

Non-violation complaints (Article 64.2)

Technology transfer

Enforcement of intellectual property rights

Climate change and the WTO intellectual property (TRIPS) agreement

Least developed countries’ priority needs
An overview of the process of identifying and responding to least developed countries’ needs, with links to working materials, updates and tools for coordinating the work.

Innovation policy and the TRIPS Agreement

Intellectual property and the public interest

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TRIPS work in the WTO 

Work of the TRIPS Council
The TRIPS Council administers the TRIPS Agreement. It consists of all WTO members.
Follow the link above to search for minutes of the council’s meetings, its reports to the WTO General Council, and other TRIPS Council documents.

TRIPS Council “special sessions”
These are for negotiations on a multilateral system for notifying and registering geographical indications for wines and spirits, under the Doha Development Agenda.
Follow the link above to search for minutes of the meetings, reports and other documents from the negotiations.

Notifications — members’ transparency toolkit
Members share information on their intellectual property laws, regulations and practices through notifications submitted to the TRIPS Council. The toolkit includes procedures for sharing information, and other aids for members’ transparency work.

Review of members’ implementing legislation
Members have to notify the TRIPS Council about their relevant laws and regulations. This helps the Council review the agreement’s operation.

Technical cooperation in the TRIPS area
In particular, developed countries’ commitments under the TRIPS Agreement on technical cooperation, and the work of the TRIPS Council in this area.


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Disputes citing the TRIPS Agreement
Disputes arising from the obligations under the TRIPS Agreement are subject to the WTO’s dispute settlement procedures.

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History: derestricted Uruguay Round negotiating documents on TRIPS 

On 15 May 2006, the General Council decided to make public all official documents issued under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). This includes all official documents on TRIPS and other areas of the Uruguay Round negotiations. Information on how to access these documents can be found here.

As an alternative for TRIPS scholars, posted here in response to numerous requests, are the official documents on the subject from the 1986–94 Uruguay Round trade talks. They give scholars a picture of how the TRIPS Agreement came about. The documents include reports of meetings, other materials compiled by the GATT Secretariat, and communications from participants in the negotiations.


You can download the English documents bundled together in zip files:

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The WTO, often collaborating with other international organizations, regularly holds symposiums, training sessions and other events on intellectual property, trade and other related subjects. Details of events are here.


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Cooperation with other intergovernmental organizations

See also:
> Observers in the TRIPS Council


  • e-TRIPS is an online platform for enhanced transparency of TRIPS-related information

Trade in Knowledge: Economic, Legal and Policy Aspects

Regular Meetings of the  TRIPS Council


Special Sessions of   the TRIPS Council


Staff working papers

Full list 

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