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Articles 7 and 8 of the TRIPS Agreement: A Force for Convergence within the International IP System


  • Alison Slade


Articles 7 and 8 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) provide express recognition for policy objectives that are fundamental to international intellectual property (IP) protection. Not only do they identify the goals of technological innovation and dissemination, but they also acknowledge the wider public interest agenda behind the TRIPS Agreement. While Articles 7 and 8 have acquired influence at a policy level through the Doha Ministerial Declaration and the Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, their use within the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Development Agenda and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has resulted in both an enhanced status within the wider policy arena and an enhanced legal significance, most notably in discussions on enforcement. By transcending treaty and forum boundaries, these provisions not only influence interpretative practice, they also encourage a convergence of policy objectives that facilitates greater coherency within the international system, and links IP with other areas of socio-economic importance. In other words, Articles 7 and 8 are poised to provide the foundation for a new legal and policy perspective on international IP regulation that is fully supportive of social as well as economic development in all participating nations.