Procedures for notifying and sharing information: introduction

The TRIPS Agreement says WTO members must notify the TRIPS Council — in other words the WTO’s membership — about their intellectual property laws and regulations, and other relevant information.

The purpose is help the TRIPS Council in its task of monitoring how the TRIPS Agreement is operating, to promote transparency, and to allow member governments to cooperate better with each other on issues such as eliminating trade in counterfeit and pirated goods, transferring technology to the poorest countries and technical assistance.

The notifications required by the TRIPS Agreement cover:

  • members’ intellectual property laws and regulations

  • contact points within members’ administrations

  • members’ use of specific provisions in the TRIPS Agreement such as modified criteria on eligibility for protection, and exceptions to the non-discrimination principle known as “most-favoured-nation treatment”.

These notifications are circulated in the series of documents using code numbers starting with IP/N/-. Members also share information on their laws and practices as part of the TRIPS Council’s work, through structured procedures under “Reviews of implementing legislation”, reviews of how geographical indications provisions are being applied (under TRIPS Article 24.2), and reviews of the provisions of Article 27.3(b) which deals with patentability or non-patentability of plant and animal inventions, and the protection of plant varieties.

Members have also agreed that developed countries should notify on:

Details of how this works can be found in a Secretariat paper, “Timeliness and Completeness of Notifications and Other Information Flows”, IP/C/W/543. Download: Word, pdf

Information on notifications relating to technical cooperation can be found under Technical Cooperation in the TRIPS area.

Detailed information on the notification procedures can be found in the Technical Cooperation Handbook on Notification Requirements: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights:

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