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TRIPS and pharmaceutical patents: fact sheet

The WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) attempts to strike a balance between the long term social objective of providing incentives for future inventions and creation, and the short term objective of allowing people to use existing inventions and creations.

The agreement covers a wide range of subjects, from copyright and trademarks, to integrated circuit designs and trade secrets. Patents for pharmaceuticals and other products are only part of the agreement.

See also:
> Frequently-asked questions

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September 2006

This fact sheet has been prepared by the Information and Media Relations Division of the WTO Secretariat to help public understanding. It is not an official interpretation of the WTO agreements or members’ positions


See also:
> TRIPS issues: Pharmaceuticals and patents
Pharmaceutical patents and the TRIPS Agreement
A more technical explanation.

Contents back to top

Philosophy: TRIPS attempts to strike a balance

What is the basic patent right?

A patent is not a permit to put a product on the market

Under TRIPS, what are member governments’ obligations on pharmaceutical patents?

IN GENERAL (see also “exceptions”)

Exceptions

ELIGIBILITY FOR PATENTING
RESEARCH EXCEPTION AND “BOLAR” PROVISION
ANTI-COMPETITIVE PRACTICE, ETC
COMPULSORY LICENSING
WHAT ARE THE GROUNDS FOR USING COMPULSORY LICENSING?
PARALLEL IMPORTS, GREY IMPORTS AND ‘EXHAUSTION’ OF RIGHTS
THE DOHA DECLARATION ON TRIPS AND PUBLIC HEALTH
IMPORTING UNDER COMPULSORY LICENSING (‘PAR.6’)

What does “generic” mean?

Developing countries’ transition periods

GENERAL
PHARMACEUTICALS AND AGRICULTURAL CHEMICALS

For more information back to top

> Gateway to TRIPS material on the WTO website
 

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