Procedures for notifying and sharing information: most-favoured nation

The TRIPS Agreement allows WTO members exceptions to the non-discrimination principle known as most-favoured-nation treatment (MFN), ie, where a country normally does not discriminate between rights holders from different trading partners. But they must notify the TRIPS Council — in other words the WTO’s membership — if the exceptions arise from agreements that already existed when the TRIPS Agreement took effect.

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Notifications under Article 4(d)  

The TRIPS Agreement’s Article 4 on most-favoured-nation treatment provides that, with regard to the protection of intellectual property, any advantage, favour, privilege or immunity granted by a member to the nationals of any other country shall be accorded immediately and unconditionally to the nationals of all other members. There are certain exceptions to this obligation. Subparagraph (d) of that article, exempts any advantage, favour, privilege or immunity accorded by a member deriving from international agreements related to the protection of intellectual property which entered into force before the WTO agreement entered into force, provided that such agreements are notified to the TRIPS Council TRIPS and do not constitute an arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination against nationals of other members. Notifications made under Article 4(d) are circulated in the IP/N/4/* series of documents.

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