INTERNATIONAL TRADE MEETS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

INTERNATIONAL TRADE MEETS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: THE MAKING OF THE TRIPS AGREEMENT

Kennedy School of Government Case Program NR15-02-1661.0

A Summary 

In a Nutshell

Nice example of how international cooperation happens.

Collective action problems overcome as the main beneficiaries were a small group of industries that were able to combine their influence to organize in favour of changing the status quo despite opposition from many quarters. This small group managed to make IP a moral issue. Many developing countries believed that IP protection was just a means of controlling the technologies that would allow them to develop, and that large companies should be compelled to license their technologies domestically. A number of countries were willing concede this point for better access to manufacturing/agricultural markets, and a non-traditional area such as IP probably would  not have been agreed upon had concessions in other areas not been available.

 In a nice example of a two level game, once the UR had broken down, Dunkel presented a draft agreement. Although he was ambivalent about IP he recognized that a proposal would not be successful if it did not take a strong stance on IP, and so he included it in the draft agreement.

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