Intellectual property rights (IPRs) have long been the subject of contentious debate between developed and developing countries. While providing an incentive to invest in and develop new technologies, IPRs also vastly increase the cost of these new technologies to developing countries. Despite disagreement on the proper role for IPRs in the global economy, IPRs became a major element in the 1994 Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which established the World Trade Organization (WTO). Effective on January 1, 1995, the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Agreement (TRIPS Agreement) formally linked compliance with minimum protection standards with international trade. This linkage directly affects technology flows to, and the course of development in, developing countries. While the Fourth Ministerial Conference at Doha, Qatar on November 9-13, 2001 integrated the concerns of developing countries more fully than previous Ministerial Conferences, the issue of technology acquisition and development in light of the increasing technology gap between developed and developing countries was overlooked.
L D. Tully,
Prospects for Progress: The TRIPS Agreement and Developing Countries After the DOHA Conference,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.