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I. TRIPS Legal texts and the relevant Conventions

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (i.e. the TRIPS Agreement) is contained in Annex 1C of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, which entered into force on 1 January 1995.

The TRIPS Agreement contains general provisions and basic principles such as national and most-favoured-nation treatment, as well as exhaustion of rights.  It incorporates, by reference, a number of provisions from other relevant international legal instruments for the protection of intellectual property rights.  The TRIPS Agreement covers copyright and related rights; trademarks; geographical indications; industrial designs; patents, including the protection of new varieties of plants; layout-designs of integrated circuits; and undisclosed information, including trade secrets and test data.  It also includes provisions on technology transfer and technical cooperation.

Furthermore, the TRIPS Agreement establishes the minimum standards of protection to be provided by each WTO Member.  Article 1.1 provides that Members may, but are not obliged to, implement in their law more extensive protection than required by the Agreement.

Least-developed country Members continue to benefit from extended transitional periods to bring their intellectual property regime into compliance with the TRIPS Agreement.  

The TRIPS Agreement is administered by the Council for TRIPS, which is open to all Members, and reports to the WTO General Council.

  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and the Conventions Referred to in it

      — Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Articles 1 through 12 and 19)

      — Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (Articles 1 through 21 and Appendix)

      — International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (“Rome Convention”) (Articles 1 through 22)

      —Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits (“Washington Treaty”) (Articles 2 through 7 other than 6(3), 12 and 16(3))

      — Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, (Annex 2 of the Marrakesh Agreement)