International Intellectual Property laws with respect to pharmaceuticals patents in Africa, part 4

D. Stronger Intellectual Property protection through TRIPS-Plus Trade Agreements and FTAs

As previously stated, developed nations, such as the United States, are in favor or stronger intellectual property rights. Whereas, developing nations, such as South Africa, are in favor of weaker intellectual property rights. This is due to the fact that developed nations profit from the exportation of patents and intellectual property. [1]Although the TRIPS agreement sets a minimum standard of global intellectual property rights, countries are free to negotiate for stronger intellectual property protection. [2] These agreements are called “TRIPS-Plus.” [3] Some of the most popular agreements under TRIPS-plus include terms that extend patent protection beyond the maximum twenty year term, the restriction of compulsory licensing and allowing the patent holder to stop parallel importation. [4]

Developing nations are in favor of foreign trade agreements (FTAs) because of the increase of investment by pharmaceutical companies and the greater market access to drugs. [5] Additionally, there is a common rationale used to support protection of international patents in developing nations is that strong patent protection will increase foreign investments by large pharmaceutical companies. [6] Moreover, there is statistic evidence that shows companies cancelling investments in poor, developing nations that have weak intellectual property protection. [7] On the other hand, the United Nations has conducted studies that show there is still large foreign investment in countries with weak intellectual property protection.

TRIPS-PLUS and FTAs have created more protection for patented pharmaceuticals, such as extending patent protection life. [8] TRIPs-PLUS has also strengthened patent rights by restricting otherwise allowing compulsory licensing and parallel importation. [9] In conclusion, by signing FTAs and TRIPs-PLUS agreements developing countries allow for trade expansion, which allows extra money for research and development for pharmaceutical companies and provide stronger international intellectual property rights. [10]

[1] Peter Drahos, Expanding Intellectual Property’s Empire: The Role of FTAs 16 Chi. J. Int’L. 23 (2003)


[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Data.unAIDS/org/pub/epislides/2007/2007_epiupdate_em.pdf

[6] David Hindman, The Effect of Intellectual Property Regimes on Foreign Investments in Developing Economies, 23 Ariz. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 467 (2006).

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

By | 2012-11-21T18:46:22+00:00 October 30th, 2012|Foreign Patent Prosecution|Comments Off on International Intellectual Property laws with respect to pharmaceuticals patents in Africa, part 4