digital technologies and trade

Intellectual property

Since the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) came into force in 1995, digital technology has fundamentally changed the scale, diversity and nature of cross-border commercial transactions involving the transfer of knowledge. In particular it has transformed how intellectual property is licensed, managed and traded. The WTO addresses the interface between digital technology, trade and intellectual property in several ways, in particular with a new platform on 'Trade in Knowledge' which supports dialogue and new approaches to understanding the latest developments.

TRIPS Council

The TRIPS Council has discussed topics related to technology, IP and trade on several occasions, e.g. in the framework of its discussions on the Work Programme on Electronic Commerce. The minutes of the TRIPS Council as well as other relevant information (including TRIPS notifications, TRIPS review materials, TRIPS-related reports) can be accessed through the e-TRIPS Portal.

Technical assistance

The WTO Secretariat addresses IP topics related to digital trade, technology and development in its technical assistance programmes. Dedicated sessions/events include:

Research and publications: trade in knowledge

Technology has placed knowledge at the centre of policy debates about economic and social development. Recognizing the need for modern analytical tools to support policymakers and analysts, a research project by the WTO Secretariat has drawn together contributions from a diverse range of scholars and analysts, resulting in a publication entitled Trade in Knowledge Intellectual Property, Trade and Development in a Transformed Global Economy. The publication offers a fresh understanding of what it means to trade in knowledge in today's technological and commercial environment.

For further information, including author videos, see Trade in Knowledge. The volume is available for purchase online at Trade in Knowledge

Other resources


Table of Contents

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