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currently focused on the GATT TRIPS negotiations, the WIPO negotiations are, to a large extent, on hold.


On December 20, 1991, GATT Director General Arthur Dunkel tabled a draft final act, which offered "a concrete and comprehensive representation of the final global package of the results of the Uruguay Round." Included in this 450-page text was an agreement on TRIPS. The TRIPS text reflected the combined efforts of the individual country negotiators and, where consensus could not be reached, the views of Ambassador Lars Anell of Sweden, the chairman of the TRIPS negotiating group, and the GATT Secretariat. Although the document was presented on an almost "take-it-or-leave-it" basis by Mr. Dunkel as a final package, the reaction of U.S. Trade Representative Carla Hills best characterizes the current status of the document: "It is important to emphasize that the Director General's document is only a draft; it is not a finished legal text." Both developed and developing countries have proposed changes in TRIPS as well as in other elements of the Uruguay Round package.

The TRIPS agreement covers copyright and related rights, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, patents, layout designs (topographies) of integrated circuits, and protection of undisclosed information. In addition, it contains sections on basic principles, such as national and most favored nation treatment; internal and border measures that countries will have to implement to enforce the intellectual property rights covered in the agreement; and transitional and institutional arrangements.

The following is a brief summary of the key provisions of the draft agreement as they affect technology-related intellectual property2:

Copyright and Related Rights
  1. Parties to the agreement (i.e., countries) are required to provide Berne Convention protection. The moral rights provisions of Berne, however, are excluded from coverage under TRIPS.

  2. Computer programs are protected as literary works under the Berne Convention.


In providing this brief status report and summary, the author has not assessed the TRIPS provisions and their relative effectiveness in meeting the intellectual property-related objectives of the various parties to the negotiations.


Readers are urged to consult the TRIPS text that is contained in GATT document MTN.TNC/ W/FA.

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