UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

International patent rights under the TRIPs Agreement : the road to a more equitable international regime of patent rights Warren, Benjamin Charles


The International protection of Intellectual property has become an issue of major importance over the past century. This has led to the signing of Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of International Property Rights (hereinafter TRIPs), on April 15, 1994, at the conclusion of the WTO Uruguay Round of negotiations. The practical effect of TRIPs is the harmonization of world patent laws. This harmonization has resulted in an over-arching umbrella framework used to apply legal standards to two expansive areas of human development. The first is a legal application to International social and economic conditions, which pit developed nations against developing nations. The second is a legal application to the forefront of controversial scientific conditions as humankind continues to push the envelope on bio-scientific progress. The International issues that the incredibly broad application of the TRIPs Agreement attempts to address is doing nothing but making the interpretation df the vague language a confusing and onerous task for all the parties involved. This is primarily due to the large range of smaller, yet complex issues that the TRIPs agreement attempts to address and the large number of issues that various parties have tried to apply the' TRIPS agreement too. In this thesis, it is shown that the attempt to use an all encompassing umbrella treaty to solve problems which deal with topics that range from patent protection for essential medicines in developing nations to the moral issues that are involved in patenting life is an unrealistic goal. The literature review consists of a critique of the current regime's ability to accomplish its intended goals. After the literature review, the following two chapters each cover a broad issue that the TRIPs Agreement attempts to address or that various parties have tried to apply the TRIPs Agreement to. Chapter Three is a discussion of the International social and economic impacts that the TRIPs Agreement may have on developing nations. Chapter Four explores how the TRIPs Agreement attempts to deal with the patenting of emerging life science products and the criteria for patentable subject matter. The final Chapter presents six prominent recommendations for change.

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