TRIPS: Floor vs. Ceiling
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, commonly referred to as the TRIPS Agreement, is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP), covering most facets of IP policy. TRIPS was negotiated through part of the Uruguay Round that established the World Trade Organization (WTO) and entered into force in 1995. The agreement provides for dispute settlement in the case of trade issues related to IP among WTO members. The WTO states that TRIPS “establishes minimum levels of protection that each government has to give to the intellectual property of fellow WTO members. …” As such, it is imperative that the TRIPS Agreement not only be preserved as the “floor” for global standards, but that the international community constantly looks to strengthen TRIPS and other agreements.