ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Legal Factors in TRIPS

To ensure that patent-abusive situations, such as the ones that occurred in South Africa, do not repeat themselves, member countries of the WTO must draft balanced domestic patent legislations based on a rational interpretation of the TRIPS text.

The Bretton Woods Conference was held in 1944 to restore the economic activity which was shattered by second world war. International organisations such as the IMF, WB and GATT1 were set up to revive the global economy. The GATT, a trade pact and an organisation was founded in Geneva in 1948 to pursue the objective of free trade in order to encourage growth and development of all member countries. It set out world trade rules to ensure competition in commodity trade by bringing down tariff levels. The first seven GATT Rounds sought to stimulate international trade through reduction in tariff and lowering of non-tariff restrictions on imports. The Eighth Round of GATT was launched in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in September 1986 and it concluded in April 1994. It commenced when the world’s leading economies were still reeling under the severe recession of 1980-81.2 Apparently, this Round was held to evolve rules on reducing obstacles to international trade and to encourage global economic growth through greater trade. But in reality it was a frantic scramble to capture the domestic markets of the south by the world’s advanced countries facing recession.

The Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations went well beyond the area of international trade. It entered fields not within the jurisdiction of GATT and extended to areas which were essentially part of domestic policies of a nation. New issues such as intellectual property rights, agriculture, investments, services, etc, were deliberately brought on the agenda of multilateral trade negotiations. And the global trade arena was for the first time littered with the most complicated and detailed rules formulated by the powerful players. These rules decided the pattern of investment that a country should pursue; the type of technology it must promote; the industries it must deregulate and privatise; the agricultural support it must maintain; and the type of patent system it must adopt and implement.

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