Intellectual Property: Protection and Enforcement

Intellectual Property: Protection and Enforcement

The TRIPS Agreement says patent protection must be available for eligible inventions in all fields of technology that are new, involve an inventive step and can be industrially applied. Eligible inventions includee both products and processes. They must be protected for at least 20 years. However, governments can refuse to issue a patent for an invention if its sale needs to be prohibited for reasons of public order or morality. They can also exclude diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical methods, plants and animals (other than micro-organisms), and biological processes for their production (other than microbiological processes) from patent protection.

The TRIPS Agreement describes the minimum rights that a patent owner must enjoy, and defines the conditions under which exceptions to these rights are permitted. The Agreement permits governments to issue “compulsory licences”, which allow a competitor to produce the product or use the process under licence without the owner’s consent. But this can only be done under specific conditions set out in the TRIPS Agreement aimed at safeguarding the interests of the patent-holder.

Source: World Trade Organization (WTO)

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