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Title: Is there a Need to ‘Substantially Modify’ the Terms of the TRIPS Agreement?
Authors: Vaish, Varun
Haji, Mustafa
Keywords: TRIPS;Traditional knowledge;Access to medication;Transfer of technology;CBD;Bio Piracy
Issue Date: May-2012
Publisher: NISCAIR-CSIR, India
Abstract: The TRIPS Agreement is no stranger to controversy and since its inception has been subject to harsh criticism and calls for modification. The task of defending the TRIPS Agreement, particularly from the point of view of an observer from a third world country is, therefore no mean feat. This article focuses on four major fields where a substantial modification of the TRIPS is being debated and suggests that in light of the recent decisions of the TRIPS Council, the special and differential treatment incorporated, the intrinsic flexibilities available, and the initiatives undertaken at Doha, ‘substantial modification’ is avoidable. The first issue of focus is traditional knowledge. It is increasingly felt that traditional knowledge can be protected within the framework of TRIPS, without a substantial overhaul of its provisions, through a ‘Declaration of Traditional Knowledge and Trade’. The second area of focus is ‘seed patents’ and rights of farmers to ‘save seeds’. This area is in line with the larger debate on bringing the TRIPS into conformity with the Convention on Biological Diversity in order to prevent bio-piracy. This segment is concluded with a discussion on how India has incorporated in its local laws the flexibility available inherent in TRIPS. The third area deals with transfer of technology and whether there exists a need for the TRIPS to be reworked to ensure stricter compliance of developed countries to the relevant obligations already listed in the TRIPS. The fourth and final area of focus is the impact of TRIPS on ‘access to medication’ brought to light by campaigns carried out by organizations such as the Third World Network and Health Action International in view of the ongoing struggle for access to HIV medication throughout the world, particularly in South Africa.
Page(s): 195-208
ISSN: 0975-1076 (Online); 0971-7544 (Print)
Appears in Collections:JIPR Vol.17(3) [May 2012]

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