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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

QMIPRI Lecture Series: Developing and Least-Developed Countries and Intellectual Property Rights

19 November 2019

Time: 4:45 - 7:30pm
Venue: Room 3.1, Centre For Commercial Law Studies, 67-69 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A

Developing and Least-Developed Countries and Intellectual Property Rights: Colonialist Features of the TRIPs Agreement


Speaker: Professor Gustavo Ghidini (Emeritus Professor, University of Milan; Professor of IP and Competition, LUISS, Rome)

Chaired by: Professor Duncan Matthews (Director, Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute)

The impact of the TRIPS Agreement’s rules on Developing and Least-Developed Countries (LDCs under Article 66) will be discussed, focussing on two normative profiles of the Agreement which bear on the position of the said countries, LDCs in particular, in international trade.

The first concerns the standard terms granted for complying with the TRIPS Agreement’s Western-designed IP rules. This marks a historic departure from the experience of modern industrially advanced countries which self-determined, to the measure of their own economic development in terms of when to adopt and enforce a significant level of IP protection.

The second is the introduction of the rule of Article 27.1, which inhibits a country’s ability to impose a local working requirement for patents, at present substitutable by mere import of patented products. Prior to TRIPS, a local working requirement was historically adopted by many countries in order to benefit (employment benefits aside) from the spill-over and sharing of advanced foreign technologies.

The author argues that the synergy between these two normative features objectively has the effect of maintaining Developing Countries and especially LDCs in the position of net importers of high-tech products, and exporters of low-tech products and commodities. This can be characterised as a colonial scheme of international trade, in contrast, inter alia, with the TRIPS Agreement’s declared aim (under Article 7) to foster the transfer and dissemination of technology.

Hence, the author suggests two modifications of the TRIPS Agreement, specifically tailored upon Developing Countries’ and especially LDCs’ needs, and consistent with the ever growing need to design more balanced patterns of international trade, particularly as concerns IP-related issues.


Registration: 4.45pm (CCLS Reception)

Lecture: 5.00pm

Drinks reception: 7.00pm


For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.


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