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the other hand, linkages with other trade issues may work to the detriment of those concerned with IPRs. Either way, it is likely that a GATT agreement on IPRs, if one is achieved, would include strengthened minimum standards of protection and procedures for settling disputes.7

Policy questions with respect to GATT negotiations include whether a satisfactory IPR agreement can be achieved under the Uruguay Round, whether a significant number of countries will sign such an agreement, and whether effective enforcement procedures can be agreed upon and implemented. If international IPR issues become subject to the GATT, what then will be the role of WIPO? Can WIPO be used to deal with new technology issues? Can either GATT or WIPO assume the important balancing role needed to resolve international IPR disputes?

Interactions with Other Policies

Intellectual property rights issues also interact importantly with other economic and health policies. The recent initiative of the National Institutes of Health concerning patentability of genetic sequences has, for example, created the possibility of setting off a frantic race among private companies to "stake out" rights to certain gene sequences before it is even clear how they are commercially useful. At the other extreme, laws that bar patentability for inventions that have been previously disclosed are often at odds with university research policies that stress early and free dissemination of research results. Antitrust policies in the past have sought to place narrow limits on the legally permissible exploitation of intellectual property rights. In the area of health policy, delays in new drug approval can reduce the effective period of patent protection, and price controls on medicines in many countries reduce the economic return on those products, which are highly R&D intensive. Each of these interactions, many of which are addressed in this volume, raises important issues at both the national and the international levels.


The challenge of an edited volume based on the proceedings of a conference is to present the material in an interesting and coherent fashion, while avoiding the tendency to try to recreate the agenda of the meeting itself. We have endeavored in the following pages, therefore, to provide an


As of this writing, the uncertainties of the potential trade-offs between various issue areas encompassed within the negotiating framework of the Uruguay Round are still being explored and no final agreement has been reached.

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