The non-multilateral approach to international intellectual property normsetting
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Since the early 2000s, the European Union and the United States have pushed aggressively for the development of bilateral and regional trade agreements. In recent years, developed countries have gone even further to establish plurilateral trade, investment and intellectual property agreements that bring together developed and like-minded countries. Using an ill-advised ‘country club’ approach to international intellectual property normsetting, these countries have negotiated agreements ranging from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade (ACTA) Agreement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment (TTIP) Agreement. While ACTA focuses primarily on intellectual property issues, TPP and TTIP cover trade and trade-related issues, including both the trade- and investment-related aspects of intellectual property rights. To help us take stock of the many recent developments concerning these non-multilateral agreements, this chapter examines the international intellectual property normsetting process following the expiration of the TRIPS transitional period for developing countries. The chapter focuses specifically on three distinct types of non-multilateral agreements: (1) bilateral and regional trade agreements; (2) plurilateral intellectual property agreements (as illustrated by ACTA); and (3) plurilateral trade and investment agreements (as illustrated by the TPP). Using these three types of agreements as case studies, this chapter explores the strengths and weaknesses of the non-multilateral approach to international intellectual property normsetting. The chapter also explores the ramifications of an increase in non-multilateral norm-setting activities in the intellectual property field.
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International Intellectual Property: A Handbook of Contemporary Research