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Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

Among the newer issues in international trade policy is protection and requirements related to intellectual property. Intellectual property rights are customarily divided into two main areas: copyrights and industrial property. Copyrights are given to authors of literary and artistic works (books, musical compositions, paintings, sculpture, films, etc.) for a minimum of 50 years after the death of the author in order to encourage and reward creative work. Copyrights also protect the rights of performers (actors, singers, and musicians), producers of phonograms (sound recordings), and broadcasting organizations.

Industrial property can usefully be divided into two main areas. One covers trademarks (which distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from those of others) and Geographical Indications (which identify a good as originating in a specific place and possessing a characteristic that is essentially due to its geographical origin). The other area involves the granting of patents on industrial property to stimulate innovation, design, and the creation of technology. Into this category fall inventions, industrial design, and trade secrets.

Trademarks and geographical indications (GIs) are the two intellectual property rights that most greatly affect agricultural trade. For example, negotiations on the establishment of a multilateral system of notification and registration of geographical indications for wines and spirits is taking place during the Doha Development Agenda under the TRIPS Agreement. Trademarks and GIs are also issues in the areas of technical barriers to trade and market access.

Other Relevant Multilateral Agreements:

Last updated: Monday, June 04, 2012

For more information contact: John Wainio

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