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Abstract

Through the birth of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the development of an agreement for standards of trade-related intellectual property rights and an increasingly coercive approach by the United States, the world is moving towards a uniform, global system of intellectual property protection. By considering the development of the TRIPS Agreement and the mechanisms by which it is enforced, this paper identifies the effects of the evolving system of protection for developing countries. The emphasis is on the practical operation of the system – particularly the role of the United States in enforcing levels of protection in line with, and in addition to, TRIPS – and the results which have so far been achieved. The implications of the emerging system and the arguments for and against comprehensive protection of intellectual property in developing countries are then considered and some recommendations offered.

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