In This Review

Globalizing Intellectual Property: The TRIPS Agreement
Globalizing Intellectual Property: The TRIPS Agreement
By Duncan Matthews
Routledge, 2002, 202 pp

One of the most contentious issues on the international economic agenda is intellectual property rights: patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Some American and European owners have emotively accused other nations of "theft" and "piracy," despite different definitions of such property rights among different legal systems. Under the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property) Agreement of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations (completed in 1994), developing countries promised to tighten intellectual property rights in exchange for trade commitments by rich countries, especially in textiles and apparel, which are yet to be realized. Developing nations attempted to reopen TRIPS issues at the Doha ministerial meeting in 2001, where all sides agreed to launch a new round of negotiations. This useful book discusses the origin of TRIPS, outlines its content and meaning, and dissects the gray areas and unfinished business, especially in implementation. But it offers little guidance or discussion of what a desirable regime would look like, within as well as among countries. It is undoubtedly true that many developing countries do not offer sufficient protection for intellectual property, but it can also be argued that rich countries give too much.